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Argentina to Italy

For details of this year's LCGB tours - go to the Overseas Tours Page


News. Ross Middleton reporting. The Argentina Government and the consortium which won the concession to build the Cordoba to Buenos Aires high speed line have finally thrown in the towel and admitted that they have been unable to raise the funding to build the line. Meanwhile the Government continues with the revival of the existing network. The latest Plan is to electrify the General Belgrano suburban systems in Buenos Aires.


Tasmania. Peter Crossman reporting.
Tasrail has no public passenger rail services, not since the 1970’s, some freight, mostly timber which is a big industry on the island.

There are a number of preserved lines, the most famous is the Wilderness Railway, in the south west. This runs from its base at Queenstown, which has a large tin mine no longer railway served, to Strahan on the coast.

The narrow gauge railway runs for about 23 miles through dense tropical forest and follows a river, over a considerable climb before dropping down into Strahan. The middle section is rack on the Abt system. It was originally built to carry timber to the coast for shipment overseas. It closed down in the 1970’s but with the help of a government grant (would you believe it) to promote tourism, it was completely rebuilt a few years ago and is a very popular tourist attraction. Well worth a visit if you go to the island. The story of the railway from its inception to resurrection would fill a book and does.

One of the other railways visited was the Don River Railway, in Devonport of course. It only runs for a few miles nowadays and used to connect with the “main line” as such, which is currently used commercially from Burnie (a large container port) on the North West coast, through Devonport and then south to Hobart.

The Don railway has large and very well equipped workshops, again through a government grant, but currently no steam. Since Tasrail cut its connection with the “main line” the Don suffers from a lack of visitors and has great difficulty in raising the funds to repair one of its 4-6-0 tender locos (which was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in Newcastle. It is amazing just how many of the locos in Tas are UK built.

The Don owns a large number of steam locos including Vulcans, NBL, Dubs, Fowlers, Rustons and even a small four wheel railcar built by Riley’s! It also has a number of working diesel locos including a slightly smaller and earlier version of our Class 20’s.
There are a number of other lines, with working steam, including the Wee Georgie Wood, in the south west on which I had a cab ride on a small Fowler tank and a preservation site just north of Hobart which has a short section of track and a large workshop and visitor centre.

There is also the small working steam railway at a town called Sheffield! The railway used to run through here from Devonport years ago but was eventually torn up as a result road competition, a very common reason for extinction in Tas. It has been completely rebuilt by volunteers and runs for about half a mile in the summer.

It is situated in a woodland park and once a year they have a steamfest, with traction engines, tractor pulling, a fairground with a steam merry go round and various other country attractions.

The island is an amazing place with large tracts of dense tropical forest. Driving out there, we accumulated around 4500 miles in our large Ford Falcon, was a pleasure unlike the UK. You could drive for miles and hardly see another vehicle. Some of the towns remind you of the US Wild West in the 1870’s but with motor vehicles.

DARWIN, Australia - Genesee & Wyoming is buying Australia's FreightLink for $334 million, expanding G&W's operations on the continent, Australia's ABC News has reported. The Greenwich, Conn.-based shortline holding company said it believes it can increase FreightLink's volume by shipping more mineral traffic. FreightLink connects Adelaide and Darwin, shipping 3.8 million tons of freight annually. It had been in receivership since 2008, and G&W has been essentially operating the line under contract since 2004. "We're very familiar with the asset, and I think as a global organization, we would look to bring efficiencies into our operations as we move forward," said Robert Easthope, G&W Australia's chief executive.

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Howard Forster July 2009
Wednesday,29/07/09. Wien Handelskai. CFF 482.045 was noted on a southbound freight heading for Kledering Yard. 52.7102 was plinthed in good condition.
Wien Donauuferbahnhof is a small yard adjacent to Handelskai where Wien Lokalbahn stand their locos. MRCE ES64U2.067, Wien LAG ES64U2.022/3/64/8 were present.
Thursday, 30/07/09. Strasshof. 52.7593 looking very good was on its plinth.

OSEK Museum, Some small industrial diesels could not be identified, the following locos were present: LICAON,106,153.7114,33.102,55.5708,372,97.208,97.73,1665,30.33, 69.02,54.14,30.109der,Schneepflug976.0.200(ex30.104), 88.01,92.2234der,15.13,310.23,109.13, Lagerhaus1,197.301,258.902,175.817der,77.66,35.233der,’2229.222’, 156.3423, 58.744,Zfbk OZ 1,3071.07,12.10,JZ 33-240,52.100,52.7594,Gilli-Werklok Lenzing,42.2708,OMV Lok1,ET10.003,ET10.106,1010.002,1010.011,1110.023, 1020.038,1040.01/008,1041.001,1141.028,1044.501,1046.005,1062.07,1072.01,
1189.05,1245.001,1570.01, (004?),2060.005/74,2062.33/055,2067.004,Ko 5159,Ko 4w?,-?4w blue,Vosslauer Kfbk O&K Ko 4w,WDW 1 4w,Jenbach 4w green,
D200 Nestle Stadlau 4w Jen 3.512.055/64,MARTH Mobil Oil Kagran 4w 21696/-?,
Wien West Bhf. A massive redevelopment incorporating the station buildings is making it difficult to access, and not helped by the lack of information on the hoardings surrounding the site. Wien West Depot. In and around the depot were 18 electric locos including GySEV 1047.503 and MAV 1047.008. Plinthed in the park near the Technical Museum was EWA 21 ILSE 0-4-0WT.

Wien Technical Museum.
Back where they belong were: AJAX,STEINBRUCK,254 and 1060.001.

Wien Sudbahnhof Depot. 23 electric locos were present, 1145.02 was inside the carriage shed. The large number of 1014s present on a weekday, confirmed that many are surplus to requirement. Wien Ostbahnhof. Most of the platforms appeared to be in use, but dust from the adjacent excavations appeared to be a problem at times.

Wien Donauuferbahnhof. There had only been one change from the previous evening, ES64U2.019 had replaced ES64U2.023.

Austria Wien Donauuferbahnhof. WLB ES 64 U2-019 was pictured on the standage by the Donau. 29/07/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Ausrtia Wien Donauuferbahnhof. MRCE BOSPORUS SPRINTER ES 64 U2-067, had been renumbered from 045, on being fitted to work into Eastern Europe.
Photo by Howard Forster

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Visit Report. Allan Baxter reports on his journey through Belgium en route to Switzerland.

Friday 14/09/12. Eurostar to Brussels.  Train 9116 at 08.57 was called at 08.35 and was set 3211/12.    Journey to Brussels was unremarkable and was completed on time.  Lille Fives yard contained 2 X76500, plus BB67248/80 in woebegone condition sitting at the east end of the yard. I was going to Namur for an overnight at the Grande Hotel de Flandres opposite the station. 

518/520 formed the 12.33 Brussels-Luxembourg.  Station pilot was 2130 which was the test-bed loco for Class 13 some years ago. No new emu stock was seen.  The work to lay extra tracks out to Ottignies proceeds but will be some years in completion. Afterwards the Namur traffic was watched from Platforms 4/5. 

Not long after arrival 1352 was noted at the head of EC97 to Zürich.  The same loco came back later on with EC96 which, oddly enough, starts at Chur.    However EC90 was hauled by 2003, surely one of the last runs by these machines before they are retired.  

I was interested in what would be powering the peak-hour Brussels-Dinant/Liege, as they were Class 27s last year.  The first of these turned up shortly after 17.00, consisting of two five-coach DD sets with DVTs coupled together.  1908 was at the front with the Liège portion while 1841 brought up the rear for Dinant. 

The next service an hour later was 1915 fore and 1818 aft, so it would appear that most, if not all, of Class 19 are now in service.  By the time of my next holiday in 2013 the new emu stock should be established which will mean the end for the AM62/63/65 sets which work a good number of the services around Namur.

On the freight side there was a meeting in the station of BB36017 making for Liège with steel coil and BB36029 with westbound empties.  Later 2821/27 headed east light engines.  There seemed to be less freight about this year than at the same time last year and a good number of the workings were by single class 13s.

Saturday 15/09/12. To Basel on EC91, which arrived on time with 1354 at the head.  We left Namur on the right-hand track, not crossing to the correct side until Assesse, 12 miles out -  work connected with the re-electrification.  New masts were seen being put up in the Libramont area. 

There has been a reshuffle of Class 41 dmu sets and 4186, from outside the area, was waiting at Libramont for custom.   Stockem yard was deserted, but there was a bunch of the new emus, both single and dual-voltage, at the depot.  At Luxembourg BB26164 backed on to the other end of the train for the run through Lorraine and Alsace. BB60000 are now working in this part of France, 2 examples being seen at Thionville, one at Metz and one at Strasbourg.   We ran on the right-hand pair of tracks leaving Thionville and did not cross over to the passenger tracks until Woippy Triage. 

A DB Schenker 66 66073 was noted at Mulhouse, where the stabling point at the station seems to have been abolished.  Also a new single track chord has been created from the Belfort direction to allow freight access to the yard without having to pass through the station.

 Rod Smith 22nd July 2012
  The following locos were seen on a trip to the continent (steam only):

Stoomcentrum, Maldegem.     Std   Ol49-12 2-6-2   OC Chr 2614 1952 68011 0-6-0 T IC HE 3796 1953 BEBERT 0-6-0 T OC LaM 3223 1926 FRED 0-4-0 ST OC AE 1908 1925 YVONNE 0-4-0 T OC StL 947 1893 TKp-4436 0-8-0 T OC Chr 4436 1957 - 0-4-0 VBT   Clt 1833 1930 - (crane) 0-4-0 VBT   Cock 6047 1930 TKp-6281 0-8-0 T OC Chr 6281 1963 - 0-6-0 T OC HStP 1405 1923   I did not see TKh-5387 or 16.27, the latter has been reported elsewhere as having moved.  

60cm   - 0-4-0 T OC HStP 416 1891 - 4-6-2   OC Tub 2177 1935 MARIE 0-4-0 T OC OK 4854 1911 - 0-6-0 T OC Chr 3297 1954   I did not see OK 2544.    

  Stoompoorlijn Dendermonde-Puurs, Bassrode.   Std   16 0-6-0 T OC Tub 2334 1947 3 0-4-0 T OC HStP 1378 1922 HELENA 0-6-0 T OC Tub 2069 1928 1 0-4-0 VB OC Cock 2643 1908 4 0-4-0 VBT OC Cock  975 1875 5 0-4-0 T OC HStP 862 1906 2 0-8-0 T OC Hen 29884 1947 4 0-4-0 T OC Clt 1803 1926  

16 was OOU/Dere in the station whilst 3 was working the service – chimney first towards Puurs. In the shed were HELENA (spare) and the two Cockerills, the older of which is completely Dsm. The other three locos are in a siding to the West of the station with the Hen being in reasonable condition whilst the other two are more Dere than OOU.  

The train was hauled by 3 (chimney first towards Puurs) and had a small Deutz diesel attached to the back; the reason for which became apparent at Puurs where there are no facilities. Once all the passengers were off the train the diesel was started and took the coaches back towards Dendermonde being followed by the steam loco running light engine. About a mile back there is a siding just long enough to accommodate a loco and using this the steam and diesel change ends on the coaches which are then returned to the station so that the return journey can commence. As the train departs either end of the line a member of staff comes round and takes drinks orders which are delivered to your seat – most civilised!

Visit Report. Alan Baxter reporting on his journey through these countries en to Switzerland Friday 17 September 2011
Train 9120 St. Pancras to Brussels at 08.27 arrival at Brussels Midi on time.
Then I took the 12.03 Liège/Dinant (sets 409/420) as far as Namur for one night's stay at the Grand Hotel de Flandres directly opposite the station. Afterwards I observed the action in the sunshine from Platforms 4/5. I hadn't been there 10 min when a freight appeared from the Liège direction double-headed by SNCF BB67563/529. I haven't seen this class at Namur previously and I assume it's a new working. As the day wore on it was noted that all freight was either using Athus-Meuse or going to/from Liège area and that nothing at all was using Line 162, which would seem to be as a result of Class 23 being taken off freight.

There were some interesting passenger workings in the peak, including a Liège/Dinant formed of two DD push-pull sets with 2757 in the middle and 2746 at the rear. EC295 showed up with one of the colourful Alsace TER200 sets, minus DVT, which normally work Strasbourg-Basel. Presumably by this time next year some of the new stock currently on order will be in traffic and we will see the last of these awful old AM62/63/65 sets.

Saturday 18 September: Today I was making for Chur on EC91 which is 07.33 ex-Brussels Midi and 08.41 off Namur. I noted that the previous Luxembourg service, due into Namur at 0738, was 40 minutes late. The Dinant at 0811 was 20 down and so, eventually, was EC91 which hove in sight headed by 2005 just before 0900.

There is only one IC each way and so one would suppose that the re-electrification work, due for completion in 2014, should proceed relatively unhindered. A sign of the times was at Stockem yard where the total cessation of Line 162 freight was reflected in an almost empty main yard, there being a solitary engineers' train with 5531/19. Likewise Arlon was almost deserted without its usual weekend gathering of Class 23.

The right hand line onwards to Luxembourg has now been re-electrified, and we passed a CFL push-pull set prior to entering Luxembourg which would suggest that we have one track for 3000V dc and one for 25kV ac.

At Luxembourg SNCF BB15021 was waiting to attach itself to what had been the rear of the train. Thionville has a large dump of BB 16500 in the yard north of the station, and 16770/754/715/752 were identifiable. Thionville also has a good allocation of BB 69000 which were mixing with the regular BB 27000/37000. Later on there was a line of 6xBB1 6500 in the loop at Saverne, ex-Strasbourg by the look of things and 16671/712/736 were noted.

Arrival in Basel was at 1440 and as I passed through Customs (empty!) I could hear the announcement of a 1447 to Chur, so that the resourceful SBB had a spare set (an Ersatzzug!) on standby to cover for a late running EC91. No doubt the stock of EC91 would be used for a Basel-Zurich service as the return EC90 goes from Zurich via Rheinfelden.

In the meantime I contented myself with the 1533 Basel-Chur with 460 055 in charge of the usual DD set. Since December 2008 the xx33 services have run fast to Zurich and then only Sargans and Landquart arriving in Chur in 139 minutes for 129 miles. The intermediate stops are taken care of by the xx47 departures from Basel which take 176 minutes with 12 stops. Arrival in Chur was on time at 1752 and I was staying for four nights at the Hotel Freieck, my regular haunt.
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June 2012

Saturday 16 June 2012 Industrial Museum Mladejov, Moravia
Gauge 600mm

1 0-6+2T oc KraussL 7485 of 1920 Working services
5 0-6+2T oc KraussL 7485 of 1920 In Shed

Various small narrow gauge diesels on display around site, unfortunately with no obvious sign of identity on any of these locos. Event was very heavily patronised and the only steam hauled train that was timed to give a reasonable arrival back in Prague was fully booked, with groups and with staff refusing to sell tickets for the train.

Sunday 17 June 2012 Luzna u Rakovnika Museum “International Meeting of Steam Engines of Series 52”

Steam - Home locomotives on display or in steam: Gauge 1435mm
CSD 300 619 0-6-0T oc Floridsdorf 1633 of 1905 (a)
CSD 310 076 0-6-0T oc WLF 1295 of 1899 (a) (j)
CSD 313 432 0-6-0T oc PCM 128 of 1904 (g)
CSD 324 391 0-6-0 oc StEG 3527 of 1908 (a)
CSD 387 043 4-6-2 oc Škoda 847 of 1937 (a)
CSD 422 002 0-8-0T oc Krauss, Linz 4430 of 1900 (a)
CSD 423 094 2-8-2T oc CKD 1428 of 1928 (a)
CSD 433 049 2-8-2T oc CKD 2446 of 1948 (a)
CSD 464 053 4-8-4T oc CKD 1764 of 1938 (a)
CSD 477 043 4-8-4T oc CKD 3042 of 1954 (a)
CSD 524 159 2-10-2T oc CKD 1461 of 1929 (a)
CSD 555 0153 (52.7620) 2-10-0 oc Floridsdorf 16968 of 1944 (h)
CSD 555 0301 (52.3644) 2-10-0 oc #1 Floridsdorf 17227 of 1943 In Steam
CSD 555 3221 (52.7047) 2-10-0 oc #1 Floridsdorf 16500 of 1943
CSD 556 0254 2-10-0 oc Škoda 3021 of 1954 (e)
CSD 556 0271 2-10-0 oc Škoda 3165 of 1955
CSD M124.001 2-2-0VBRailcar oc Ringhoffer 661681 of 1903

Not on display, locked in Shed:
CSD 354 195 4-6-2T oc BMMF 1055 of 1925
CSD 354 7152 2-6-2 oc BMMF 657 of 1916
CSD 534 0323 2-10-0 oc Škoda 1648 of 1945

Not on display, workshop: CSD 434 2218 2-8-0 oc StEG 3921 of 1913
CSD 313 432 0-6-0T oc PCM 128 of 1904

On display inside shed, former Industrial Steam Locos, Gauge 1435mm:
6 0-6-0T oc Krauss, Munich 611 of 1876 (a) (d)
29 0-6-0T oc Škoda 2438 of 1950 (a)

Industrial Locos, Steam, Gauge 800mm:
21 SONP, Kladno 0-4-0WT oc Krauss, Linz 6682 of 1912 Display
7 SONP, Stiavnicka 0-4-0WT oc  CKD 1724 of 1938 In Steam
32 0-4-0WT oc  CKD 3190 of 1951 Display

Industrial Locomotives, Diesel, Gauge 800mm:
49 (BN60H) 4wD
UD72 (DH120) 4wD
77 (DH120) 4wD

Visiting Steam Locomotives: CSD 475.179 4-8-2 oc Škoda 1901 of 1949 (1) In Steam
CSD 555 3008 (52.7447) 2-10-0 oc Škoda 1523 of 1943 (2) In Steam
CSD 556 036 2-10-0 oc Škoda 2803 of 1952 (3) In Steam
CSD 556 0506 2-10-0 oc Škoda 3531 of 1958 (4) In Steam
(JZ 33.044) DR 52.100 2-10-0 oc Krauss Maffei 16411 of 1943 (5) In Steam
PKP Ty2 911 (52.1346) 2-10-0 oc DWM 812 of 1944 (6)
In Steam
OBB 52.7596 2-10-0 oc WLF 16944 of 1944 (7) In Steam
DR 52.8079-7 (52.5659) 2-10-0 oc Schic 3937 of 1943 (8) In Steam

Visiting loco notes: (1) Loco from CD Decin depot.
(2) Loco from Bratislava ZSSK Vychod depot, Slovakia.
(3) Loco from Vrutky ZSSK depot, Slovakia.
(4) Loco from CD Ceske Budejovice depot.
(5) Former JZ loco from OSEK Museum, Strasshof, Austria.
(6) Loco from Skansken PKP Depot, Chabowka, Poland.
(7) Former OBB loco from Tubingen, Germany.
(8) Loco from BSW Gruppe, former DR depot, Glauchau, Germany.

Diesel Locomotives:
Gauge 1435mm
CSD T334.004 0-6-0DH BMAG 12031 of 1943 Display
CSD T334.0869 6wDH TSM 60 0016 of 1969 Display
CSD T444.030 Bo-BoD Display
CSD T458 1190 Bo-BoD Display
CSD T499 0002 (759.002) Bo-BoDE CKD 8888 of 1975 Display
CSD T679 1600 Co-CoD Display
CSD T720 058 Bo-BoD Display
CD 701 776-7 4wDM CKD 4939 of 1960 Display
CD 702 069-6 4wDM CKD 4971 of 1960 Display

Electric Locomotives:
Gauge 1435mm
E212 001 4w BE Display

Notes: (a) On Display inside roundhouse
(d) Ex Kladno steelworks
(e) 556 stamped on some motion parts, 556.0254 stamped on frames.
(h) Loco ex 33-502, ex Kreka Mines, Bosnia.
(i) Loco ex. Cernenice Sugar Mill
(j) Loco was plinthed at Ceske Budjovice.

Monday 18 June 2012
Zlonice Zeleznicni Muzeum, Zlonice Tyrsova 444

Gauge 1435mm
10390 0-6-0T oc OK 10390 of 1923 (a)
LUDVIK 0-4-0WT oc OK 9764 of 1921 (b)
"317.001" 0-6-0T oc CKD 3208 of 1952 (c)
0-4-0WT oc OK 6289 of 1913
(200.1172) 0-4-0WT oc KraussL 1172 of 1921 (d)
0-4-0DM CKD 3559 of 1959 (e)

Notes: (a) Plinthed at Kladno in 1996.
(b) Former plinthed loco at Pardublice Container Works.
(c) Former plinthed loco at Louny, carries ficticious number.
(d) Former plinthed loco at Veselni nad Moravu.
(e) Uncertain about works number.

Thursday 21 June 2012
Chomutov NTM Store.

Gauge 1435mm steam locomotives.
6 GARTENAU 0-4-0Tram Krauss 1879 of 1887
CSD 210.001 0-4-0T oc StEG 3201 of 1905 Part Dsm
CSD 310.0118 0-6-0T oc BMMF 108 of 1903
CSD 322.302 0-6-0 oc Hartmann 424 of 1870
CSD 354.1217 4-6-2T oc Škoda 958 of 1938
CSD 365.020 2-6-2 oc BMMF 914 of 1921
CSD 422.025 0-8-0T oc CKD 2422 of 1948
CSD 423.001 2-8-2T oc BMMF 915 of 1921
CSD 434.2298 2-8-0 oc Wiener Neustadt 5199 of 1914
CSD 475.1142 4-8-2 oc Škoda 2665 of 1950
CSD 477.060 4-8-4T oc Škoda 3059 of 1955
CSD 498.106 4-8-2 oc Škoda 3057 of 1955
CSD 524.184 2-10-2Toc CKD 1498 of 1930
CSD 534.027 2-10-0 oc Škoda 267 of 1923
CSD 534.0301 2-10-0 oc Škoda 1626 of 1945
CSD 556.0510 2-10-0 oc Škoda 3535 of 1958

Gauge 1435mm Electric Locomotives.
(CSD 121.017-8 Bo-BoWE Škoda 3895 of 1960
CSD E225.001 101.001-6 4wWE Krizik 1 of 1905
CSD E406.0501 106.0501 Bo-BoWE Škoda of 1949
CSD E422.0002 100.002-5 Bo-BoWE Škoda
CSD E423.001 102.001-5 Bo-BoWE Adam 48 of 1927
CSD E436.004 103.004-8 Bo-BoWE BMMF 1080 of 1923
(CSD E499.089) 140.089-4 Bo-BoWE Škoda 3619 of 1958
(CSD E698.001) 180.002-8 Co-CoWE Škoda of 1958
(CSD 230.050 Bo-BoWE Škoda

Gauge 1435mm Diesel Locomotives.
(CSD 700.548-6 4wDM CKD
(CSD T212.0520) 702.520-8 4wDM TSM
(CSD 720.087 Bo-Bo DE CKD 4914 of 1950
(CSD T444.0101) 725xxx B-B DH TSM 4000.1 of 1964
CSD T466.0057 Bo-BoDE
(CSD T478.3016) 753.016 Bo-BoDE CKD
(CSD 770.069-3 Co-CoDE CKD
(CSD 771.069-2 Co-CoDE SMZ
(CSD T679.1xxx) 781.592 Co-CoDE
CSD T435.001 720xxx Bo-BoDE
CSD T466.0057 Bo-BoDE TSM
0-4-0DM CKD 3848 of 1956

Gauge 1435mm Diesel Railcars
020.149-1 4w+4w Railcar
022.001-2 4w+4w Railcar
M240.046 4w+4w Railcar
M262.012 4w+4w Railcar
M286.0008 4w+4w Railcar
M273.006 4w+4w Railcar
M475.0001 4w+4w Railcar
830.075-8 4w+4w Railcar
831.187-0 4w+4w Railcar
850.008 4w+4w Railcar
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John Burdett- Paris June 2012.
Sun 3/6 After a bit of a lie in it was an 08.30 start for today's programme of the Paris area depots. First stop was Villeneurve St George where access was made by parking the car alongside the N6 road on the east side of the yard, then across the footbridge parallel with the Grande Ceinture Paris orbital freight line, a set of steps at the far end of this lead directly to the roundhouse.

A full visit was made with exactly 100 locos being logged. Mostly the expected types, 14 of the new 60000 class were stabled around the area together with Infra 75088. The older types were represented by a handful of 63000s, some of the 8500 class electrics now used on ECS work and a solitary SNCF 66118.

There appeared to be a small dump at the Paris end of the depot that contained diesels and stored electrics, 15 locos in all whilst another 4 shunters were parked about and obviously not in use.

I went round to Valenton where the main Paris area container depot is situated, 15 locos here - another 3 class 60000 and ECR 66179 plus SNCB 2904 aka 186 349 were amongst them.

Quite close to Valenton is the RATP depot at Boissy St Leger and although you can't see much from the outside of the depot there is a view of the PW sidings from the southwest corner.

Looking I could see RATP loco T170 but that was it. I called at the station to record a few of the EMUs that work RER Line A, mainly the MS61 type but there were also representatives of the two double deck classes with 1639/40 of the new type MI09 being one of the latest sets. Carrying on I next went to Sud Ouest. Although this depot has no allocation these days its still open as a stabling point for servicing locos working out of Austerlitz.

Unfortunately it has an electric gate on the entrance so unless your lucky and someone is coming in/going out at the time your there then you can't get in. I contented myself with a view from the road bridge spanning Massena CS and then a look through the gaps in the concrete fence at the rear of the depot recording 16 items.

9201/08 and 64 were a bit of a surprise being stored in the open and Y5106 was still in business as the depot shunter which was the only one of these ancient small shunters I saw working all week. In the CS a further Colas ex German 211 was attached to a PW train but it was to far down the sidings to identify.

Close to Sud Ouest is the stabling point at Sud Est that looks after the routine cleaning etc of the TGV sets used out of Gare de Lyon. Quite a good view of them can be had from the surrounding roads and the pedestrian footbridge that spans the depot.

All sorts of TGVs were here and I recorded 25 double deck sets as well as numerous single deckers. Y7581 appeared to be a LOCMA here although it didn't look as if it was doing any work.

Passing the depot was DC Bimode B81749/50, a Dijon based set which I was surprised to see, although I later in the week saw a few more. Guess this must have come up the traditional route from Dijon to Paris as a stopping service.

A look over the fence at whats left of the stabling point alongside Gare de Lyon at Charolais produced another 4 locos including the rescue locos 67218 and 249.

A new block of flats is going up alongside the road between that and the tracks so when that's finished you won't be able to see anything at all here, it having been fenced off for ages.

I looked at the shed site at La Villette, just outside Gare de l'Est but it had been completely demolished and the site cleared apart from some fuel pumps, Y5143 was the only occupant.

Heading away from the centre of Paris again I next went to the new depot at Ourcq which has replaced the old loco depot at La Villette. A public road goes right along the side of the new depot so I noted another 9 TGVs and half a dozen locos. TGV4713 was here, freshly delivered I would say. This is one of the new double deckers for working to Switzerland and Germany.

Next was the stabling point at Noisy le Sec, 6 shunters here with Sybic 26101 parked in the yard. I couldn't see anything at all from the outside at the depot which maintains the units for working out of Est.

Adjacent to the station part of the yard had been lifted and a new bridge was going in from street level to the yard. I couldn't decide whether this was an extension to tramway running or a new approach road for the staff.

I went on to Bondy to view the trams that are run by SNCF from there to Aulnay. In 30 minutes I noted 6 sets, they are in the dark blue and white STIF livery with coloured patches on them, not very exciting to look at but cops all the same!!

From here it was up to Le Bourget which is now the main freight yard in the Paris area for SNCF. The stabling point was choccers with 79 locos present.

Usual freight types but SNCB 1211, 1301 and 1313 were unusual and Colas 182 543 another ex DB 211 was a surprise. Another 15 60000's with just 63876 representing the old order. 67220 and 273 were the stabled breakdown locos although very unusually not coupled together plus a dozen of the 75000 class locos amongst it all.

I had planned to go to the yard at Vaires next but time was beginning to run away with me so I opted to go up to Martigny Beauchamp to view ETF's PW depot, I drew a blank as I couldn't get anywhere near the place to see whether there was anything there, before going to Acheres.

The electric gates were all open - evidently this is the norm here - so I parked the car and walked up to the office where permission for a visit was readily given. Part way round a young French lad joined me who said that he was a French trainspotter - unusual in the extreme!!! so we went round together, he seemed a bit surprised at my knowledge of current SNCF affairs however!!!

This depot seems to get bigger and bigger in terms of numbers and I logged 135 locos. Absolutely loads of shunters parked around with a reasonable number of 63000s. Again new 60000s were in evidence, 7 noted.

There is a scrap line of shunters at the east end of the depot holding 12 locos while another scrap line in the yard at the west end of the shed contained electric 25543 at its nearest end, I didn't investigate the rest but was told it holds mainly 16000 class electrics. 7 of the new electrics of class 27300 were on depot whilst 75123 was receiving some attention. I was told that this new larger diesel of SNCF wasn't any good because it wasn't powerful enough which is why they often operate in pairs!

Out in the yard which has recently been reactivated by private operators were half a dozen Colas locos, Vossloh G2000 203 and G1206's 02, 07, 08, 15 and 18 together with ECR electric 186 162 and former EWS 66191.

I next went to Poissy to have a look at the sidings here where Peugeot have a big car plant. There were a couple of Moyse built industrial shunters but of more interest was an SNCF 63000 type loco numbered as 42 and AT2 LL 800 which I believe is probably a Colas loco but ex HBNPC coal mine network.

Just a bit further west is Colas's main base at Les Mureaux. After a bit of a struggle trying to find the entrance I eventually emerged from the undergrowth to face the main gate, another 4 locos noted, 182 615 an ex DB 211, new Vossloh G1206 number 17 plus the two resident shunters L131.02 a Decauville and L135.02 a Fauvet Girel built type.

Across to Trappes where at the stabling point I found a dozen locos although three of these, electrics 22250/56 and 61 were stored, but SNCF gave me another pair of class 60000's. Electric 7603 was my first sighting of one of these recently rebuilt push pull fitted 7300 class, although I didn't see any working during my visit to Paris. A number of EMU's at the depot there made up the numbers.

I looked in at the station at Versailles Chantiers to see if there was still a shunter duty here but probably as expected there wasn't. Electric 27313 came through and a pair of Caen based X72500 DMU's passed through heading for Montparnasse while I waited for the rain to ease off.

SNCF 7402 preparing to couple on to the stock of the 17:06 departure > from Paris Montparnasse to Le Mans

Heading back towards the centre I came in to the TGV stabling area at Chatillon and although it was practically dark I read off a dozen sets from the public access points including double decker set 704 and one of the Atlantique sets I wanted - 363. Lastly I went round to Montrouge depot to see what I could see.

Initially I looked from the public road that runs alongside the depot where I read off a couple of bits but then realised one of the back gates had been left open so had a proper look inside the shed, not much to report, just 10 locos, the only new one being 27301 which was the only one of this sub class I had already seen, having copped it at Thionville a long time ago, before it was delivered to the Paris area. Electrics 8643 and 8593 appeared stored. From there it was back to the hotel reached after a second look at Valenton after 11.

Monday 4/6 My intention had been to drive over to Choicy le Roi to watch the morning rush hour on the line going into Austerlitz, but after the last two days activity I overslept. This had the disadvantage that by the time I was ready to leave the hotel the Monday morning rush hour traffic was in full swing and it was difficult to get over to Choicy.

I decided to change my plan and parked at the north end of Villeneurve yard to watch the morning rush hour into Gare de Lyon. As it turned out it wasn't a bad decision as I bagged 17 TGV sets for my trouble, members of all the types of double deckers but I also picked up TGV 615, one of the older sets I wanted - I only saw three of this sub series all the time I was in the Paris area.

After this I headed out of Paris to the south with the intention of searching out some more former SNCF shunters that had been sold into industrial service at locations given in the Platform 5 book. The first location was at a sand quarry south of Fontainbleau, I found the quarry at Bourron Marlotte but there was no former SNCF loco here, two proper industrial types, one of which was not in use.

The next location was at a silo at la Grande Paroisse. I had more luck here and former Y7021 painted in all over yellow livery was located round the back of the silo between that and a large warehouse, again looked to be out of use. Flushed with this success I went up to Nangis to look at the silo there and by viewing across the main line, under a bridge and down the track could see former Y6499 in orange and brown livery parked, again looking out of use.

I stopped by the TGV Sud Est line for an hour and a half and watched a few more TGVs passing by at high speed, copping another 8 sets before going back into the Paris area to spend the evening rush hour on the station at Noisy le Sec. Sightings were much as expected, with TGVs on a lot of mainline workings but still some locos on hauled trains. I was a bit surprised to see 67406 and 67515 heading east on two rush hour passenger workings, I didn't realise any of this type of loco still reached Est particularly as there are a number of Bimode units working out towards Troyes now. DB produced ICE 406084 and three TSO locos passing light engine coupled together which livened up the proceedings.

Interestingly I was told to stop taking pictures here by a couple of what looked to be non SNCF security chaps after I had been here a couple of hours. This was the only time anybody said this to me and I would guess, rather as has happened here in the UK, they were interpreting instructions rather too literally.

I had a train ticket to Bondy to get on the station at Noisy so had the ride one stop to see if there were anymore trams working the Aulnay service that I hadn't noted the day before. Sure enough another two were in traffic plus the sets I had seen the previous day meaning that 8 sets are required to cover the service.

I returned to Noisy where I picked up my car again before heading out to the yard at Vaires. The stabling point is much reduced here and a big new fence has been placed all round it. On this weekday evening there were 8 locos here including SNCF/VFLI 62432 dumped in the grass near the buffer stops. I understand this loco has been here for some time although no idea why. I checked the TSO depot opposite, two more ex DB 212's inside the fence plus what appeared to be a former SNCF Y5100 shunter, now painted overall yellow and with no numbers on it.

I went round to the EMU SP at Vaires Torcy station and spent an hour watching the passing traffic, three freights went by in that time all headed by 27000 class electrics. Moving on I wanted to check the trams - same type as work on the Bondy - Aulnay service - that work between Esbly and Crecy en Brie. There was nothing at Esbly station but I decided to wait for the branch train to come back which turned up tram set 1.

Going back into Paris I used the A4 motorway only to get stuck in an enormous traffic jam through Joinville as they were doing work on one of the road tunnels, eventually escaping I had a final look on the SP at Valenton noting 5 different locos before returning to my hotel.

Tuesday 5/6 Didn't make the same mistake this morning and was up with the early birds to drive round to St Denis to view the morning rush hour from Gare du Nord. Much as expected with a good number of the new Francilien EMU sets in action. Surprisingly quite a number of the old stainless steel Z6100 EMU sets remain in traffic but the greatest surprise was to see loco 16012 come up on a morning express, surely this class hasn't got long to go now being well over 50 years old.

A spread of both 15000 class and 22200 class electrics were on the other hauled workings whilst TGV 4519 was unusual, this sub series work Brussels to the south of France and are not common in Paris. It came up from the country on its own but went back down attached to the back of a Thalys set, yet again, it was the only member of this series I saw all week.

Leaving St Denis at 10.30, I went across to Le Bourget for my second look of the week. The SP was quite full again with quite a number of different locos from my sunday visit, in particular 75000 class. Ex DB 212 105 which now belongs to a French PW contractor but still wears its DB colours and numbers was parked at the back while all three of the SNCB electrics noted on sunday were still here. I took a bit of time to look at each end of the yard, looking from Drancy station, then along the yard to the east end at Le Blanc Mesnil noting another dozen or so. TSO 182 557 was hiding in the yard together with a further classmate I couldn't identify.

Thought to be a former SNCF Y6200 series shunter pushed off the end of the siding at Patry SA premises at Persan Beaumont 5/6/12>

Thought to be another former SNCF Y6200 series shunter in more presentable condition also at the premises of Patry SA Persan Beaumont on 5/6/12
I next headed north out of the Paris suburbs to Persan Beaumont where after a quick look at the station noting another eight items, I found the premises of Patry SA who deal with industrial shunters. Their shed is at right angles to the station and butts on to the river embankment south of the station. I noted 17 shunters in the store shed in various states of disrepair, the only one of which that I got a positive id from was ex SNCF Y6278 which was useful as this was the machine that I knew Patry had that I wanted. Another pair of shunters were being worked on, one of which was stripped down to its bare frames.

From Persan, its a short ride round to the SNCF track works at Moulin Neuf. I arrived here just as lunch was finishing and the pair of shunters outside the little shed building were just being restarted. I drove round the perimeter of the place and noted another pair of shunters but couldn't find the Y2200 series supposedly based here. Interestingly I wanted a pair of the other shunters so I assume that this is their normal base.

Whilst there 75088 which had been round at Persan Beaumont station arrived to collect a train of long welded rail. Having finished here I crossed to the western suburbs for a second look in the yard at Acheres. This time I didn't visit the depot as I was curious to see if there were any fresh Colas locos about. Three were in the yard but they were all the same as the sunday visit although I did cop SNCF 60100 and 60149 which were standing alongside. Heading back into Paris as I wanted to spend the evening rush hour on Pont Cardinet station just outside St Lazare, I called at the RATP depot at Rueil Malmaison. Behind the station on a PW train were locos T162 and T169 but they were just about the only items I could see as the depot is elevated above the surrounding roads.

From here it was a straightforward run into Pont Cardinet where I managed to park the car and, after having to buy a prepaid parking card to get a meter to work, went on the station for the evening session. Where the old goods shed used to be opposite the station on the east side, a new depot building is going up to house the forthcoming Francilien EMU sets due to be allocated to St Lazare services. There is a small loco stabling point at the top end of this that you can't see from the station but by driving up the yard I found another dozen locos hiding where the old connection to the Petit Ceinture line used to be.

The main reason for spending time here this evening was to get the new 27300 Alsthom Prima locos that work local push pull double deck services from here. Acheres has 42 locos to cover these and during the 3.5 hour session turned up 31 of them. I had already noted a further 6 that weren't in traffic that evening so leaving me a further 6 to get another time - there were a couple of duplicates in service that night that I had already seen hence the numbers don't add up here!!.

Other loco types were 15000, 17000 and 26000 on passenger services while there were a few double deck EMU sets operating through here on services to Rouen as well. Reflecting on the 27300 afterwards and the fact that 31 out of 42 were in traffic this evening I thought that utilisation wasn't particularly high with only 73% availability being required, I guesstimated that if that had been the UK it would have been more likely that at least 37 of them would have been working as we tend to have much higher usage than SNCF do.

Standing on Pont Cardinet station I could see a yellow Infra 60000 class loco in the carriage sidings at Batignolles so after finishing on the station I drove up to have a look, it turned out to be 60167 on one end of a test coach with 66151 on the other end. Traveling back round the Peripherique round the west side as the traffic was better than going the other way round I returned to Villeneurve St George where after watching some of the traffic passing at the north end of the yard I then revisited the shed in the gloom to see what change had occurred since my sunday visit.

Walking round the roundhouse and its approach tracks it was quite noticeable how many locos were actually on shed for a weekday evening, all the usual classes represented with no surprises, I bagged another 4 items including diesel 75458. Finally up to Valenton for a last look of the day where 11 items were present, 66179 of ECR still here but this time joined by TRAXX electric 186164. I spent an hour and a half hoping for some freight movement but was only rewarded by a Sybic passing on a train and one light engine movement before I called it a day and headed back to the hotel.

Wednesday 6/6 Last time I was in the Paris area, I only had a short time to spare to view the RATP units working RER Line A. This was the first job today so I parked the car near the RATP depot at Boissy St Leger and walked round to the station, After getting a 5 zone Paris runabout ticket I joined a train as far as Vincennes station where I took in the morning rush hour sorting out the majority of the EMU sets I wanted.

Once these started to repeat I then traveled across to Rueil Malmason station to see if it was possible to note anything from the trackside having seen virtually nothing there the day before when I looked from the outside. No locos at Rueil today but I read quite a few units off some of which were fresh despite the fact that the morning rush hour had just finished.

A quick about turn took me back to Les Chatlet les Halles station where I changed to RER Line B to head out to Massy Palaseau. In particular I was after the RATP diesel locos so it was handy when I passed two of them either end of a PW train between Arcueil and Bagnaux stations in some PW sidings. The other pair of Massy based locos were at Massy depot while VFLI 61023 had just delivered back a freshly refurbished MI 84 EMU set.

Strangely a pair of SNCF diesels 75052 and 078 were parked here while I noted another RATP diesel and a PW contractor ex DB 212 tucked away at the back of the depot as I left on my train. The next move was to catch an RER Line C train back into the centre of Paris by way of Juvisy. EMU Z5686 did the honours, I noted an ECR class 66 at Longjumeau shunting an aggregates train, 5 locos at Juvisy plus another four I couldn't read off, an electric passing at Villeneurve le Roi, Y8150 outside Les Ardoines unit depot, two more shunters at Vitry sur Seine with an electric passing and TSO 182570 and 576 as I passed Massena CS. Getting off at Invalides I caught the Metro to take me to Malakoff station where I walked the short distance round to Montrouge depot for another visit.

This time besides 27301 another pair of the new electrics were in the depot, 303 coupled to a train and 307 receiving attention. After rejoining the Metro I went back to Montparnasse station for the rest of the afternoon 2.30pm till 7.00pm to try to get my three remaining Atlantique TGV sets and the rest of the Montrouge allocated 27300s. I did quite well on the latter and got them down to three out of 24 but had to wait till after 6pm to get one of my TGVs, a second one followed it in within 10 minutes but I didn't get my last one.

There were a few 7200 electrics in and out during the afternoon on hauled trains to Le Mans and Tours together with a few DMU's working out towards Caen of the X72500 type. Afterwards I went over on the Metro to Les Chatelet Les Halles again before catching an RER Line D train to reach Gare de Lyon. An hour on the platform ends here gave me yet another 5 TGV sets. Of interest here were TSO 182 574 with SNCF 60029 and 061 performing a shunt manoeuvre.

Lastly back onto RER Line A for the run back to Boissy St Leger where I picked up my car again, looked back in at Valenton noting another 13 items before returning to the hotel.

Thursday 7/6 Heading home today so the morning rush hour was spent again at the north end of Villeneurve yard in an effort to pick up some last minute TGVs, another four were bagged. The greatest surprise were diesels 67301 and 348 heading an express in towards Gare de Lyon, I don't think I have ever seen a diesel hauled express here in all the years I have spotted in Paris, whether it was a DMU substitute or a booked working I do not know.

A third visit of the week to Villeneurve depot found it to be fairly full and I got another 4 items here. The real surprise this morning was active electric 9320, I can't imagine that there are very many of these Toulouse based locos left in active service, rather like the active 16000 I saw at St Denis on the Tuesday morning, they are getting pretty ancient now. From here it was a last look in Valenton - another 7 items - 66179 still here, hadn't moved all week, before a last look in Le Bourget SP where

I bagged another three, SNCB 1211 still here, not moved all week either and another surprise with DC only electric 7399 at the Gare du Nord end of the yard, I assume this was in some form of transit move as its AC only here as far as I am aware.

Leaving Paris I next went to Creil where I viewed the yard and SP at Le Petit Therain. Quite awkward to see over the concrete fence surrounding the place but I found that a much better view was had from the hillside over looking the yard. I noted at least five Infra 75000 class locos with another two hidden so this seems to be a bit of a centre for them, in total 15 items with another 5 not identified.

A quick look at the station found a pair of 67400 diesels and a line of four shunters parked in the yard before I moved on for my first ever visit to Compiegne station. Here a pair of electrics were noted together with Y8304 which was actively engaged shunting the goods yard. There seems to be some Cargowaggon traffic from here which is why I assume the two electrics were parked here.

A rebuilt VFLI loco was parked further up the yard - one of the old SNCF 63000s with a new cab, but it was in an awkward position and it was raining particularly heavily so it avoided identification. Hoping the rain would ease I went on to the VFLI workshop at Noyon for my first visit here. Unfortunately it was raining even more heavily so I identified ex SNCF Y7200 and VFLI shunters 042 and 093 amongst the dozen locos outside.

There was another partly broken up ex SNCF Y which might have been Y7172 but it was just too wet to get out to check. Arriving at Longueau the rain had stopped but being a week day the shed was in full swing. I asked in the office for the expected refusal of a visit and wasn't disappointed, being told I needed permission from Paris which, as we all know, is never forthcoming. I retreated reading off what I could and then had a poke about round the outside of the depot to see what else I could see.

I read off 13 of the new 75000 class diesels, there were at least another 6 of the type here none of which seemed to being doing much. Quite a few were in the all over silver Akiem livery so I assume are not currently active again due to the drastic reduction in SNCF's freight business. I actually think there were more locos on depot here than I have seen before which is no doubt another sign of the loss of work.

Continuing on to the Amiens station stabling point fate took its hand and as I drove in to the carpark the chap who had refused my visit at Longueau was driving in in the car behind me!!! After tooting and waving his arms he informed me I couldn't visit here either, unsurprsingly - I wasn't going to bother to ask to go round anyway! I identified all the stuff in the sidings then looked from the road over bridge at the east end of the depot reading off nearly everything that was there. 20 minutes at the station turned up a few units as it was going home time and electric 16008 - another one still working - backed down an express.

With time running out I took the motorway directly to Calais where the SP at Frethun was virtually deserted, no ECR 66s about on this weekday evening although I did get TRAXX electrics 186 304 and 316 parked down the yard near the Eurotunnel depot. Curving round from here there was just time to look in the DMU depot before heading to the dock for my boat back across the Channel all accomplished courtesy of DFDS for a much more reasonable 39 pounds single.

That was it, quite a lot of change as expected, its getting a bit difficult to visit anywhere SNCF have now as much fencing and electronic gates have been installed over recent years. In this case I was lucky and got in the main sheds but it would be very easy for SNCF to keep you out if they so desired, particularly at Villeneurve St George.

I am told you can access it on foot from Villeneurve Prairie station but as far as I am aware this doesn't have road access from the outside being purely for the use of SNCF staff to the nearby carriage sidings. It was particularly noticeable just how many locos were in the depots and this can only be due to the very drastic reduction in SNCF's freight business.

Conversely I can't say I saw very many private operator locos filling the void but then again I spent quite a bit of the trip chasing TGV's of which I netted 71 sets that I wanted leaving about 40 for another time, even these are not that easy as some of the types don't visit Paris very much and with sets operating from all the termini bar St Lazare it takes a bit of time and effort to track them down.

Nice Ville. SNCF 22239/311 were standing on empty stock. 11/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Nice Ville. SNCF 22311 awaiting departure on empty stock. 11/05/09

Photo by Howard Forster

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Alan Baxter Reporting 2014- continued from Swizerland Report

Friday 3/10/14: Einheit Tag. A Public holiday and I proposed to do the Eifelbahn from Köln to Trier and return to Koblenz via the Moselstrecke.
143 090 was at the rear of the RB27 at 0909 to Köln, normally the loco is at the front of the northbound services. BB37008 and 186 123, the former SNCB2801, passed on the way, plus 189 081 and 152 123. Köln was busy and I noted some of the new Classes 620 (Lint 81 3 car) and 622 (Lint 54 2-car) out and about on service RB25 which goes to Gummersbach etc and uses the S-Bahn platforms at Köln Hbf. In a separate development the Rhein-Ruhr has ordered up a batch of 28 Class 1440 (an improved version of Class 440) for working S-Bahn lines S5 and S8. The Class 422s thus displaced will be cascaded to Line S6 Köln-Nippes to Essen via Ratigen Ost, replacing Class 143+stock. This is due to happen in December 2014 but the German version of the DfT has often been reluctant to allow new-build into service timeously and so we shouldn't be surprised if this change-over is delayed.

The 1021 for Trier was 644 056/053, the rear set being detached at Gerolstein. 185 246 was on a freight beyond Köln West. Eifeltor yard looked fairly full as we ran past before leaving the main line and made for the junction station of Euskirchen where some sets of Class 620 were on view among the 644s. Then it was on to Kall and after that place the line singles and the scenery gets wilder, as we ran alongside the river in beautiful weather again. At one place we stopped at there was a platform restaurant outside which the punters were enjoying their burgers and chips or whatever with steins of beer and the occasional glass of red. Passing trains were usually Class 644 but the occasional 628 was also seen. The stop at Gerolstein used to be 15 min but is now cut down to 3 min and eventually we joined the Moselstrecke at Ehrang and ran into Trier past the depot. I noted CFL2301, one of the new KISS sets and there were also several 5-car Flirt sets in white livery, one of which was identified as 429 109. This is one of a bunch of 28 units which Rheinland-Pfalz has ordered for services around Trier-Saarbrucken and will presumably displace the remaining Trier Class 143+DD services plus some Class 425. The same Trier 143s also work RB27 from Koblenz to Köln and beyond via Linz am Rhein so could that particular service be getting the 425s? Trier was hot and there was a distraction of many football fans from Berlin arriving for a match against the local club. The local police force were out in numbers to watch over them. fans. Dontcha just love them? I think not.

After a short walk around the part of the city nearest the Hbf I returned there and took a train for Koblenz which was 442 002, one of five of the 2-car version of this Class which are allocated to Trier for RB services on the Moselstrecke. There was a private 1142 635 with heritage stock in the sidings and several 143s keeping the new Class 429 company. Later on 140 840 passed with freight probably for Dillingen, and BB37011 and 189 047/032 were also heading freights going the other way.. Back at Koblenz 143 114 was motive power for the next RB27 to Königswinter and we set off past Lutzel yard where RTL 1216 902 in orange livery was stabled. A private 140 070 went past and also 189 991 before we arrived in Königswinter and soon after I arrived an Auto-Zug from Dusseldorf to Narbonne led by 120 110 arrived and sat for 10 min before the level crossing gates went down and the signal cleared allowing it to proceed. 140 528 and Green Cargo 185 406 passed before I went for dinner, and later on Re482 033, 185 636, 186 123 (again), 189 997 and 185 598 were among the items seen.

Sunday 5/10/14. A sail on the Rhein was the proposal for today. Initially I had to get to Rudesheim, which is normally done via Koblenz and the Rechte Rheinstrecke.
I took the 0943 from Königswinter which was 143 090. There was an engineering train at Neuwied which was topped by 364 850 and tailed by 203 006, two privately owned locos. There seemed to be more freight going through Koblenz Hbf than normal and I discovered that the engineers had possession of the Rechte Rheinstrecke and nothing was going that way. The communities on that side of the river were being served by a bus.

Meanwhile freights through Koblenz were headed by 185 662, 186 105, 189 988,189 112, 151 035 and 145 012. A service for Limburg was made up of two single car sets, 640 103/108, which were in HLB livery but their EVNs indicated ownership by Vectus. 648 206, one of six of this class allocated to Dortmund, was in the sidings. EC9 for Zürich, headed by 101 133, was running the wrong way round because there were engineering works on the approaches to Basel SBB on the Saturday and Sunday, and the northbound working had run direct from Muttenz to Basel Bad on the Saturday. IC2013 for Stuttgart came in led by 101 049 and I took it as far as its next stop at Bingen. We arrived at Bingen Hbf 30min later and I extracted myself from there via various metal footbridges, then through the park and down onto the river bank where there was a boat waiting to go across to Rudesheim.

I was therefore in time to catch the 1415 sailing to Boppard, which was a boat named Asbach (the local brandy!) operated by the Köln-Dusseldorfer line. We set off in sunny weather again calling at Bingen, Assmanshausen (where the paddle steamer Goethe came out as we arrived), Bacharach, Kaub, Oberwesel, then past the Loreley rock to St. Goar and St. Goarhausen, Kamp-Bornhofen, and Bad Salzig before arrival at Boppard at 1650. The Linke Rheinstrecke had been busy with passenger and freight but there was nothing on the other side except an engineers train. I got up to Boppard Hbf and noticed the 1651 for Koblenz disappearing into the distance, so I had an hour to wait for the 1751. 403 027 came past with a northbound ICE, and then a southbound intermodal was headed by 185 636. 460 016, a MittelRheinbahn set, arrived with a stopper for Mainz, and was followed by 101 093 with IC2327 for Passau. A mixed freight headed by 185 120 went through towards Koblenz, and then 650 350 crawled down the 1 in 16 from Emmelshausen and stood in Platform 3. 185 536 passed with northbound containers, and then a train called Rheintal Express arrived from Koblenz, a Sunday-only working with 628 700/450, which follows the main line to Bingen then turns right and takes to the hills calling at Neustadt (Weinstr.) and Landau before rejoining the main line and terminating in Karlsruhe. It was followed by 189 992 running light engine and then 460 004/009 showed up with the next service to Koblenz. I had time to catch the 1818 from there to Königswinter which was hauled by 143 647. 185 065 and 186 122 passed with freight before we got back and a double-headed steel train for the Saar passed with 189 030/034 as I was making my way back to the hotel.

Monday 6/10/14: Another circle via Giessen and Frankfurt was planned. I had to get from Königswinter to Troisdorf in the first instance. The 0909 was late arriving which put my connection at Troisdorf in jeopardy. 143 090 and its stock had been turned somewhere so the loco was now leading. Fortunately the RE9 to Siegen was also late and was visible in the distance, having been held up by 143 090 crossing its path north of Troisdorf. This service was formed of 442 261/254 and the run along the Sieg valley was very pretty through the hills. Passing services were Class 648, from the batch allocated to Dortmund, and the single car Class 640 was also well represented. An odd man out was 646 417 in HLB livery which was at Siegen. The connection on to Giessen was another HLB set, 5-car Flirt 429 021.

The station at Wetzlar, the last stop before Giessen, has been rebuilt. Giessen on the Frankfurt-Kassel line is also the junction of a diesel line for Fulda and 646 405/429 were providing services on this line . Continuation to Frankfurt was in another pair of 442 280/288, and I noted 145 033, 185 082/155/044 in Giessen yard while 152 162 in charge of a container train was approaching, about to make the left turn along the Giessen avoider towards Siegen.Some of the 3-car versions of Class 442 were seen as we proceeded to Frankfurt and the two-hourly REs to Kassel are now in the hands of Class 114. At Frankfurt Hbf I went down the stairs to view the S-Bahn workings and noted some of the new Class 430 working service S1 from Rodermark-ober Roden to Wiesbaden. There is another branch of S1 which goes from the main Hbf platforms to Hochst and is also Class 430. Some of the later Class 420s, 400 upwards, are working Frankfurt S-Bahn services after being displaced from Stuttgart, thus allowing the earliest 420s to be withdrawn. Back upstairs I went round to Platform 24 to get a VIAS working to Neuwied, formed of 427 153 and 428 148. This works via Wiesbaden where it has to reverse. 140 772/789 were stabled at Hochst, and after leaving Wiesbaden we took to the Rechte Rheinstrecke, open again after the weekend engineering works.

Passing freight included 185 120/278/186 and 186 105 while 221 136 went past light engine. I continued on to Neuwied where 1216 902 of RTS was shunting its train in the yard and 185 551 in Mitsui black livery went past with freight before 425 093/034 appeared with the next RE8 to get me back to Königswinter at 1839.
I went back to the station after dinner and although it was Monday it was easily the busiest evening of my holiday with more than 30 locos appearing in just over 3 hours. Northbound traffic often goes through Königswinter at the full line speed of 75mph but southbound stuff tends to bunch up, because of the signalling arrangements , and there were several instances of freight being halted at the signal protecting the level crossing before proceeding. BB37527 appeared with a single wagon at 2055 and sat for 12 minutes before continuing, and then at 2138 185 268 crawled in with a freight, for a 9-minute pause before the crossing gates went down and the signal winked over to green. Then Re421 373 crawled along the platform at 2202 with a train of Altmanns containers (car parts), restarting after 4 minutes. A new Siemens Vectron 193 208 which had some green bits offsetting its otherwise white livery, was diverted into the back platform road at 2244, and sat there until 2303 when it was given the light to rejoin the southbound road. For a time freights were following each other at 5-minute intervals, a real old-fashioned Königswinter evening. The last item to be seen was a northbound freight with a golden oldie, 139 287, in charge at 2320 before I adjourned to bed.

Tuesday 7/10/14: For my last full day in Germany I was going to Wurzburg to see if there were any developments since I was there in April.
SNCB2824 passed with southbound freight before the 0909 to Köln appeared with 143 910 leading. 155 033, 155 181,152 054 and 185 406 were noted en route. ICE 623 arrived in Köln Hbf from Dusseldorf on time, this was formed of 403 009, and reversed in Platform 6 before making for Frankfurt, calling at Köln/Bonn Flughafen and all three stops on the NBS before Frankfurt Flughafen. Beyond there was the usual congestion on the approaches to Frankfurt Hbf and we were late getting in and late leaving.

There were 3x114s in Frankfurt and also 1116 160. On the way to Hanau we passed Vectron 193 803 and after the stop at Aschaffenburg there was slow running through the Spessart hills. 151 103 and 167 were the bankers at Laufach, the latter about to lend assistance to a freight headed by 185 210. The work to provide a deviation here proceeds apace and will be completed in 2017. Presumably the bankers will be redundant after this, unless the new bit of NBS is even steeper than the 1 in 45 on the existing line. Then it was a fast run from Lohr into Wurzburg where we arrived 10min late, making a rough couple-up to 403 033 in Platform 3. I went across to Platform 6/7 to watch the passing traffic, and I noted that the passenger side was pretty much as per my last visit.

One difference was that IC2082 Bertchesgaden to Hamburg via Kassel was 101 088, which is what you would expect on a train originating within Germany (in that case, why the Taurus locos of previous years?). Trains to/from Stuttgart were Class 143+DD stock, and the locals to Nurnberg via Aisch, Treuchlingen and Schluchtern were Class 440, all pretty standard stuff. It was busy on the freight side with over 30 locos being recorded in 3 and a half hours. As well as the standard DB Classes, we had 189 995, 189 934, 185 677,182 563, 182 568,185 510/513, 189 937,182 512, 185 638, 185 526, 185 406 and 182 562. 140 070 in private livery appeared and 139 287 was seen again. At times there were 4 freights waiting to proceed. A freight for the factory at Iphofen went out behing 232 654, and a 212-type numbered V100 2335 arrived in the yard light engine from the south. Then an unidentified Voith diesel took out a southbound freight.

Eventually I went off to the Cafe Haug for a rump steak with all the trimmings plus glass of Dornfelder rotwein before returning to catch ICE1522 at 1830, which had come from Wien and was 411 018. I stayed on this train as far as Frankfurt Flughafen where I changed to ICE102 which had come from Basel and was a pair of Class 403 037/058. It was, however, running late and I decided to take it all the way to Köln and then come back out on RB27. On arrival at Köln I discovered that the DB drivers were having themselves a strike from 2100 until 0600 the following morning. This was affecting the S-Bahn services in the main, but the next RB27 appeared from the south on time with 143 366 topping and 143 073 tailing. It reversed in Platform 3 and I had no problem in getting to Königswinter where I sat for an hour while six freights passed in each direction. There was a Vossloh G2000 and 189 092, a former DB example now owned by Mitsui among the motive power before I retired to bed.

Wednesday 8/10/14: The holiday was over for another year and I was making my way back to Brussels and thence London.
Before the 0909 to Köln arrived 140 821 passed north with freight and 139 287 was seen for the third day in a row, going south. 143 263 then appeared with the RB27 for Köln. Freight going south, seen before Porz am Rhein, was 152 169, 185 213 and 155 130.

At Köln Hbf things were back to normal, more or less, after the drivers' strike, but ICE27 to Wien had been delayed somewhere and eventually appeared 40 minutes late with 411 053. I took an RE9 to Aachen which was 111 192 with DD stock. I crossed to Platform 8 at Aachen to await the inbound service from Liege, forming the 1235 back to that place, and SNCB2828 and 2814 passed with freight before grubby two-car set 653 ran into the station. ICE16 from Frankfurt to Brussels was running 20 down and eventually 406 054 hove in sight at Platform 9. We had to wait until it cleared out of the way before getting the road 7 min late. For some reason there were five members of SNCB staff sitting in 1st Class only one of whom was doing anything. We stopped at Hergenrath, where Line 37 leaves the NBS/LGV, then Welkenraedt, Verviers, Pepinster and Angleur in the outskirts of Liege, between the stops we had gone like the clappers and we arrived in Platform 2 at Liege Guillemins in 41min from Aachen. 1808 was on banking duties and three of the City line emus 999/975/979 were in the sidings. 653 set off back to Aachen and the next train to arrive at Platform 2 was the 1341 to Brussels which came in from the sidings headed by 1822.

This service runs only 8min in front of the Thalys and is fast to Brussels Nord but stayed ahead of Thalys until it was diverted onto the old line past a strangely empty Schaarbeek depot, through the station and then into Brussels Nord where set 4342 overtook as we were slowing for the stop. We then stopped at Central before arriving in Platform 14 at Midi. I had a couple of hours to spare before having to go for Eurostar and so remained on Platform 14 to view the constant traffic flow. There are more 08s in traffic with 08170 and 08581 being the highest numbers noted of the single voltage and dual voltage sets respectively. All of the 305 sets ought to be in traffic by the middle of next year. The Class 18 and 19 were in charge of many of the longer distance services often working top-and-tail. There was still a place for the standard emu sets in the peak hour and one such service was formed of 703/761/762/769. Eventually it was time to go for Eurostar train 9153 which left at 1756 and was set 373 001. Lille Fives had two BB25500 sitting idle and TGV sets 85 and 56 were in Lille Europe.

Then it was onward to the Chunnel where transit took 22 min, probably running behind a Eurotunnel service. We finally arrived in St. Pancras at 1900 after another wonderful holiday, and we got straight out to the street without any ticket/passport inspection.

Alan Baxter reporting 2013

Saturday 06/04/2013.
  I spent 90min with the traffic at Koln West before going back to the Hbf for ICE27. The first interesting item to appear was Vossloh 2000 272 410 with logo Rurtalbahn.  One of HGK's Vosslohs DE84 went past with a northbound freight and the next working was DE94/82 also northbound.  Then another Vossloh 277 030 with logo LDS went past. Private electrics included several Mitsui 189, and also former OBB 1142 579 logos North Rail and Delta Rail, north with a train of cars.   Passenger traffic was much as expected although there was a hiccup on the Eifelbahn which resulted in late running.  EC7 Hamburg-Chur is a Mitsui working again and on this occasion was 182 574. Back at Koln Hbf 411 062 arrived on time at Platform 7 with ICE27 and the trip down the Linke Rheinstrecke was a enjoyable as ever. Freight traffic was visible on both banks including private 185s 508 and 593, and at Mainz there were no fewer than 4 Class 218, 411/412/424/425, stabled at the south end of the station.

As the train reversed at Frankfurt Hbf 114 034 ran into an adjacent platform with DD stock.  This loco was numbered 112 034 until 2000 and is one of the original series of 40 112s which worked Regio trains around Berlin until it and several others were transferred to Frankfurt in December 2012 to replace Class 111 on RE Frankfurt-Fulda among others.  

Onwards towards Würzburg, then, and the bankers at Laufach were 151 001/150, the latter about to lend assistance to a freight headed by 185 277.   Arrival at Würzburg was on time at 1331 and after checking in at the Hotel Regina opposite the Hbf I came back to watch the traffic from the end of Platforms 6/7. At that time 406 010 had sat down in Platform 6 so that northbound ICEs were using Platform 5 instead.  The cavalry appeared in the shape of 218 825/812 from Nürnberg just after 1500 but it was a full hour later before the recalcitrant 406 010 was towed off probably to Frankfurt as it is allocated there.  The first freight I saw rumbled down the hill from the south behind Vectron electric 193 802 with Railpool logos.  There was some freight about, although not as much as last year, perhaps the continuing single line working at Karlstadt, on the old line towards Gemunden, had something to do with this. 

IC2082 Bertchesgaden-Hamburg appeared with Dispolok 182 525 in Wiener Lokalbahn livery.   The Nürnberg REs via Bamberg are now Class 442 in both 4 and 5 section variants, carrying the logo Franken-Thuringen Express. The Class 146.2 based at Nürnberg which used to work these services have now been displaced onto RE Würzburg-Frankfurt, which in turn have released the 111s which previously to work some of these services.  With it being Saturday, Class 146.2 were also working the REs to Stuttgart, from the batch allocated to that particular depot.  

Sunday 07/04/2013:  The first interesting working to arrive at Würzburg was 403 053 from Düsseldorf to München working ICE1223. It ran into Platform 6 (a northbound platform) where it was due to couple up to ICE923. This service starts at Wiesbaden at 0537 and runs north along the NBS to Koln, then via Düsseldorf and Dortmund and then misses out Hamm via an avoider, continuing via Soest, Paderborn, Kassel-Wilhelmshohe and Fulda to arrive in Würzburg in front of the unit which has come via Frankfurt.  However this time it was late so coupled up to the rear of 403 053. It was formed of 403 004 which has been mis-formed for some years now and the other end car is 403 522.   IC2082 was 182 570 in Mitsui black this time and an unusual item appearing from the Stuttgart direction was 650 105 which is one of the units based at Ulm to work local services in the Black Forest. There was also an IC for Flensburg with 120 102. 

Freight workings included 185 538 of TX Logistiks at the head of a northbound train of Altmanns containers.  These services have motive power supplied by all sorts of companies but never by DB. Other freight workings were worked by 185 528, 185 540, 189 930, 182 511, 182 568 as a variation from the DB classes which were also in evidence.

Tuesday 09/04/2013. I was making for Obertraubling, on the far side of Regensburg, to see whether the freight situation was any better than the last time I was there, twelve months ago. I took the 0842 to Nürnberg via Kitzingen, which was 440 326 coupled to 440 039.  A loco train of 185 272, 152 133 and 152 137 came into the yard as we were leaving. Freight on the Nürnberg leg was quiet and only 185 153 and 152 010 passed heading north.  The new Nürnberg depot was full of Class 442 and also some Class 111/143.

Although Class 442 is now in service at least one of the Nürnberg S-Bahn services is Class 143 with SD stock. 411 063 with the 1030 ICE25 to Wien arrived at Platform 9 on time but then had to wait to make connection with 401 057 forming the late running ICE783 Hamburg-München and we eventually left 7 min late.  217 002 in TEE livery was parked up east of Nürnberg Hbf.  

On the leg to Regensburg we passed 185 373 and 343 going the other way with freight and SBB Cargo Re421 390 was stabled at the west end of Regensburg Hbf. while 223 069 was just arriving with a service from Hof to München and being exchanged for 183 004.   The journey on to Obertraubling takes six minutes  and was accomplished within Agilis 440 413,  We passed Regensburg yard on the left where 233 373 and 232 589 were noted among the DB electrics.  Not long after arrival 1216 901 of RTS passed with a container service and then came 185 538 with Altmanns containers (I presume that they contain cars). 

Then Italian loco E412.015 appeared light engine from the München direction and returned a while later with a short train of Altmanns. This was followed close behind by 1116 087, the only OBB loco I saw at Obertraubling, and then 185 639 with logo Rurtalbahn Cargo went past. 223 152 with logo Integro passed towards Regensburg yard and another Altmanns service was headed by 189 926.  There was, thankfully, more freight about this time and with the Agilis sets on RBs to/from Plattling/Landshut plus the fasts to/from München which were Arriva Class 183 and DB Class 111 in alternate hours it was quite busy.

  I returned to Regensburg in 440 416 and noted some of the VBG Class 642 sets which work local services on the non-electrified lines, and then a freight appeared out of the yard with WLB 1216 950. Another freight went past in the opposite direction with a combination of 1016 016 and 185 246 before ICE90 forming the 1629 to Hamburg showed up formed of a double 411 set, 076/001..SBB Re482 020 was approaching as we left and there was also a Vossloh diesel numbered 270 010.  

  Back at Nürnberg 103 213 arrived with historic stock at the opposite platform and the return to Würzburg was completed initially in rain but then the sun reappeared although it was not particularly warm.  At Würzburg we had a pair MEG Class 143 on freight, then 1216 950, which we had overtaken somewhere, rushed through.  Another northbound Altmanns service was headed by SBB Re421 390 which had been at Regensburg earlier in the day.

  Wednesday 10/04/2013: For my last full day in Germany I had planned a trip to Hamburg-Harburg to watch some freight. Before ICE886 came in at 0830 186 340, one of the 20 examples of the DB version of this class, went past with southbound freight.  189 159 and 192 596 also passed with freight before 401 014 arrived with ICE886 to Hamburg.  It was unusually full because of people going to Hannover.   The first interesting item to be seen was a 140 in orientrot livery parked in the sidings at Fulda, and I take this to be 140 024 which was the last member of this class in this livery.  Fulda also had 114 003 on an RE to Frankfurt and RE482 026 passing on freight.  

We made a stop at Hannover-Messe/Laatzen where a bunch of people dismounted and there were stops at Uelzen and Luneburg beyond, at the former place 146 541 was waiting to attach itself to a train of Metronom DD stock.  This is one of 3 additional locos which Metronom ordered some time ago but were prevented from entering traffic for some reason. I understand that 543, the third of these locos, has not been built.  The reason for the additional stops is because Luneburg to Stelle, at the south end of Maschen Yard, is being widened to four tracks and there was also a section of single-line working so that the service has been thinned out somewhat.139 285 was seen with northbound freight at Maschen Yard and a private 204 031 and 140 038 in blue livery were parked up just south of Harburg as we ran in.  Hamburg was cold and dank and I was glad of my parka plus beany hat and gloves. 

There was also less freight passing than 12 months ago.  182 526 passed with stock labelled Nord Ostseebahn which is one of the Koln-Hamburg services.   Private freight locos included Hector Rail 241.005 (a 185) and 242.517 (a 182?) double-heading a freight to Maschen and then 241.007 passed with another freight.   Other private locos included Railpool 185 672, Mettrans 185 511 and 223 154 which was in charge of Altmanns containers.  There were also 3 examples of the class of locos I have had trouble in identifying, they appear to be Class 186 and have DB red livery and logos but they have tiny numbers front and side and they rush past with freights on the lines on the east side of Harburg too fast for identification.   I haven't seen them south of Maschen and as I saw one of them attached to a Danish EG electric last year I presume they must have something to do with freight headed to/from Denmark. If any of our readers are familiar with freight workings at Harburg and know what these locos are I would be pleased to hear from them.

Eventually 401 064 arrived with ICE883 at just after 1600 and I installed myself in the BordBistro car to enjoy another slab of their excellent chocolate cake on the return journey to Würzburg. This was unremarkable except for a 15-min delay at uninviting Kassel-Wilhelmshohe awaiting a late connection from somewhere.  One of the passengers was then concerned that he would miss his connection for Regensburg at Würzburg but this was also late and so he had no problem.  

Thursday 11/04/2013. It was time to be making my way back to Blighty but I had two hours with the traffic at Würzburg before leaving.  Private locos on freight included Railpool's 185 671, Mitsui 189 106, Wiener Lokalbahn 182 568 and HGK 185 605, and 233 217 also passed with the daily freight to the factory at Iphofen, on the direct line to Nürnberg. 146 244 was sitting with SD stock at Platform 9 forming the 1034 RE to Frankfurt and we set off via the old line to Gemunden, traversing a length of single line working at Karlstadt.

Gemunden Yard was occupied by a single freight headed by Re482 040 waiting to go south, and another freight headed by a Wiener Lokalbahn 182 raced through the yard as we made the stop.  One of the Laufach bankers was at the rear of a freight beyond Heigenbrucken, the other banker was 151 001 in the sidings at Laufach.  There were some signal checks on the approaches to Frankfurt Hbf and we arrived there 11 minutes late. Ths stock for ICE14 comes in as ICE123 from Amsterdam but this had not arrived in Platform18 by 1415, departure time 1429.  We were advised that it was running 15 late and then it disappeared off the screen as the announcement came through that it was terminating at the Flughafen.  Intending passengers were advised to go round to Platform 6 where they could catch a train to the Flughafen, this was ICE1650 Dresden-Wiesbaden formed of 2x415 sets.   It left punctually at 1442 and 10min later arrived at Flughafen's Platform 7 where we detrained.  

The next train to arrive at that platform was the late-running ICE123, formed of 406 053 and running the wrong way round, which meant that I now had a forward-facing seat.  We eventually left as ICE14 35min late and had a good run up the NBS to Koln, running through the platform loop at Montabaur to overtake another ICE, and between Troisdorf and Porz a rake of IC stock topped and tailed by 101 093 and another passed going south. 

We stopped at Köln and then Aachen, and beyond the Belgians made a contribution by routing us via the old line 37 through Verviers which is a pretty run but not very fast.  Dolhain-Guileppe, between Welkenraedt and Verviers, has acquired a new station, and there was single-line working on the Aachen-bound line between Fairpont and Chenee, in the outskirts of Liege.  Lateness had increased to 55min leaving Guillemins but spirited running on the LGV and no signal checks in the Brussels area reduced this to 45 minutes upon arrival at Midi.  

Downstairs the queue for Eurostar extended 50 yards outside the entrance to that part of the building, and we were comfortably inside the 30 min registration time as I followed a group of people who were directed past the ticket gates to the X-ray machines.  There were two passport checks and I arrived on the platform 10min before train 9157 was due to pull out-only for departure to be delayed by 15min to allow all intending passengers to get on. I detect the heavy hand of the Border Agency here.   The same organisation had another surprise in store for us when we got back to St. Pancras, still 15min late, with another full passport and ticket check before we got out to the street.  Who, or what, were they looking for?  A wonderful holiday, if a bit unseasonal, and spoiled only by the antics of the Border Agency.  

Rod Smith 25th July 2012

Std   Weinheim (Baden Wurttemberg)

  1 0-4-0 WT OC Hen 4483 1896   Plinthed by the old water tower to the North West of the station is the above which is in fine condition considering it has been there about fifty years.  

  28th July 2012   Eisenbahn Museum Dieringhausen (Nordrhein-Westfalen) Std   
041 186 2-8-2   OC Essl 4357 1933 4 THEO 0-6-0 T OC Krupp 2825 1949 93 230 2-8-2 T OC Union 2315 1917 21 0-8-0 T OC Humb 1052 1915 WALDROL 0-6-0 T OC Jung 2243 1914 POSEN 2455 4-6-0   OC LHW 1802 1919 2 0-4-0 F IC Hohen 3304 1914 95 009 2-10-0 T OC Bor 11113 1922 43 0-4-0 T OC KrM 5437 1906 KATRIN 0-6-0 F OC Mein 03060 1985 22 078 2-8-2   OC Bors 11747 1923  

I did not see 03 155 or the second 0-6-0F. The ex DB 2-8-2 now carries 041 as opposed to 042 and KATRIN is as above; no “H”.   The above were noted with WALDROL being in steam and prepared for the service on the following day; it was outside as we arrived but the torrential rain meant that it had been moved back in by the time I ventured out of the car.  

22 078 comprises frames only and in addition to the above the boiler from 45 (Jung 13240/59) was in the shed, outside on a wagon was a boiler marked 57 1841 and there was also a frame from a ten coupled loco – it could be from 043 681 which I didn’t note.  

Several people were present but they all appeared to be “associated” with particular items of stock and were unable to answer my queries about the locos that I did not see. 

    Firma Hegenscheidt, Erkelenz (Nordrhein-Westfalen)
  1 0-4-0 WT OC Hohen 3650 1919   Across the road (Neusser Strasse I think) to the East of the station, the loco is in the car park of the above firm and does not require access to the works though the people in the gate-house were interested in what I was doing.

    Dr Domagk, Kleinkunkel, Doveran, Huckelhoven (Nordrhein-Westfalen)   - 0-4-0 WT OC OK 13059 1938   The loco is in the court-yard of a large private residence at the far end of a number of minor roads. I was greeted at the portcullis style gate by a couple of large dogs whose barking brought out a lady who merely said “Allo” and then vanished inside again.

I called her back and pointed to the loco and was invited in with the dogs taking no interest – luckily. It appears that the loco is actually on some sort of rollers but whether it has ever been steamed in that position is unclear.

    29th July 2012   Selfkantbahn, Schierwaldenrath (Nordrhein-Westfalen)   1000mm  
101 0-4-0 T   KrMaf 17627 1949 20 0-4-0 T   Jung 12783 1956 5 0-4-0 WT   Krauss 3142 1894 5 2-6-2 T   Bors 12250 1930 4 RUR 0-4-0 T   Hen 5276 1899 21 0-4-0 T   Jung 12784 1956 46 0-4-0 T   SACM(G) 4805 1897 19 0-4-0 T   Jung 12703 1956   101 was being prepared for the service with 20 and 5 (Krauss) spare in the running shed along with 5 (Bors) dismantled. RUR, 21 and 46 were in the museum area and 19 dismantled in the next building. The Krauss, recently ex Alan Keef’s where it was quoted as 3192, looks very small compared with the other locos.

Visit Report. Alan Baxter reports on his travels in Ocober 2010
Friday 1 October:  Köln-West.   This is the first station going out of Köln towards Bonn on the West Bank.   It sees a lot of freight traffic heading to/from Gremberg yard and it was plenty busy during the couple of hours I was there in the afternoon.  There were several HGK Vossloh diesels and also the same company's DE13 but strangely enough no Class 66s and no class 185s belonging to the company.  Three SNCB Class 28s 2808/19/28 were seen and also 145 CL 204 (145 100) in among the standard DB motive power. 

Köln-West is served by trains making for the line towards Kall/Gerolstein, RB48 Bonn-Wuppertal and the Mittel Rheinbahn Class 460s on services to/from Mainz.  RE5 Koblenz-Emmerich does not stop here.  Königswinter later on was fairly steady with a good mix of DB and private motive power, including a pair of 143s numbered 110/112 and a new MRCE 189 104.

Saturday 2 October: A Rhein-Ruhr circular.   When I was in Köln in 1998, all the S-Bahn services serving the Hbf were Class 143 (except Gummersbach which was 218) and there were only 2 emus in the area (420 305/8).  Now only S6 Köln-Essen is still loco-hauled and this is due to convert to emu operation in December 2011.  

I took S6 from Köln Hbf, and this particular working had the 143 at the rear.  It was not the smoothest of rides, there being untidy starts and stops throughout.  This service runs alongside the main lines to Düsseldorf Hbf, and then turns right beyond Düsseldorf-Derendorf.   It runs via Ratigen Ost and passes through some surprisingly rural scenery as it runs round the south side of Essen before entering Essen Hbf at the east end.  

From here I took another S-Bahn service out to Wanne-Eickel, which is a gathering point for locos at the weekend.  The service goes from Platform 21 which is a long hike from the main station, and was formed of 422 070, one of the later examples of this class.  The stabling sidings adjacent to Wanne-Eickel Hbf held 140 024, the last example of this class to be in the old orientrot livery, 185 005, 151 155 and 155 073 plus four examples of Class 294.
From here I got an RE to Mönchengladbach with 146 007 at the rear of DD stock, which runs via Essen and Duisburg.  The yard at Krefeld works was full of various items of stock under repair, but I didn't notice any new-build.  

I continued to Aachen on another DD set headed by 111 016, passing 189 999 and 189 106 stabled at the south end of the station.  Further on, at Herzogenrath, there was a gathering of private stuff, 185 600, 189 290, 145 092 and 145 100 (CL204) being identified.   Aachen West yard was host to 185 617 and 145 099 (CL203), and SBB Cargo Re482 027/010.  It was then back to Köln on RE1, 146 009 with DD stock.  We passed 185 590, another Crossrail loco, shortly after leaving Aachen, and 182 525 also went past with westbound freight.   Later on back at Königswinter 185 524 in blue livery and MRCE 189 910 were among the items noted.

Monday 4 October: A Lahn Valley circular. 
The Rhein East Bank line was quiet, with it being a Monday, and only a couple of freights passed on the way to Koblenz (189 056 and 185 254).   At Koblenz a late-running IC to Stuttgart was first to appear at Platform 4 (101 133) and I took this as far as Mainz, then took a Frankfurt S-Bahn train (a 420 set) to Frankfurt Hbf.  Bischofsheim yard had only a single freight in it, double-headed by 185 381/346, and Railpool 185 674 was sitting at Russelheim.   Frankfurt Hbf was busy with intending passengers, and late-running trains featuring.  

I caught a DD to Limburg headed by 143 227, a pleasant run via Idstein through fairly hilly country. The Köln-Frankfurt NBS parallels this line a short distance to the west.   Limburg is the end of electric traction and the Lahn Valley line east and west and the line to Montabaur are all diesel operated.  The shorter workings, including those to Koblenz, have been worked by Vectus since the end of 2006, using their fleet of 2-car dmus which are numbered as Class 648.  There is also a 2-hourly RE service from Koblenz to Giessen which is Class 612 operated. 

I took one of the Lahn Valley stoppers, formed of Vectus 648 168, and recalled that the first time I had travelled this route, in 1999, it was in 628 674 which was so badly graffiti'd that there was no view through the right side of the train.  The Lahn Valley line back to Koblenz is another pretty run, largely single track down to the junction with the Rhein East Bank line at Niederlahnstein thence into Koblenz and finally back to Königswinter. 

Monday is not usually tremendously busy for freight yet that particular Monday evening was the busiest in my time there.  The traction included 4xClass 140 from the old order, and BB37517/9 of the Veolia batch of locos along with BB37002, there was a SBB Cargo combination of Re482 049 and 421 377, and privately-owned 185 and 189 mixing in with the DB examples of these classes.  Also appearing were two trains operated by 66s PB20 and ERS6611.  It is believed that ERS is intending to acquire some electric locos so that diesel workings from Rotterdam to Basel should eventually cease.  There was no sign of the NIAG diesels which had regular workings along the Rhein Valley last year.

Tuesday 5 October:
This was my last full day in Germany and so I decided to go to Würzburg to see what was happening since I was last there in April.   ICE623 was late leaving Köln because it was awaiting access to Platform 5 where ICE614 from München to Dortmund was also late.  This happens more often than it ought to. 

DB have decided that running all its NBS ICEs heading towards Würzburg via Frankfurt Hbf and thus incurring a 20 min time penalty, is better than having intending passengers struggling onto the S-Bahn to make their way to Frankfurt Süd.   Bankers at Laufach were 151 016/150, no sign of 1020 041 which is often to be found there.

Würzburg was wonderfully busy and in just under 3 hours 35 freights passed through. At one point there were 4 freights in the station area waiting to go north and one going south.
There was one southbound freight with two of MEG's 143s, 143 851 (MEG603) and 143 864 (MEG606), and then a 142 belonging to Westfalische Almetalbahn bearing numbers 142 126 and DP57, headed south. Another southbound freight was in charge of SBB Cargo Re421 395/376 and MWB's 212 247 coupled behind. 

New private locos included 185 676 (Railpool) and 189 280/112 (MRCE).  Most of the DB stuff was Classes 152/185 but other classes were represented.  The passenger side was also busy.  The inevitable 1016 008 turned up with IC2082/4 to Hamburg - the only IC to pass while I was there.  ICE586 München-Hamburg was formed of 2 ICE2s with the power cars together in the middle of the train.  I thought that this arrangement was not allowed!   The Class 440s have at last entered traffic on local workings and examples of the 3-car and 4-car versions were noted.  The MRCE locos which were working REs from Frankfurt to Würzburg have gone back to working freight and Class 111 has once again taken over this service together with Nürnberg-based Class 146.2 which work through from Frankfurt to Nürnberg via Bamberg.

Return to Köln was in ICE624 which, gratifyingly, was a pair of ICE3 sets, plenty of empty seats which saved me having to stand in the vestibule as happened last year!  This service uses the low-level platforms at Köln Messe/Deutz where the access to the main line platforms is by a steep staircase.
Wednesday 6 October: Back to Blighty.  Before going for my train at Köln I watched some freight firstly at Königswinter and then at Köln West.  The Classic Courier train with its preserved loco 1042 520 passed south through Königswinter, where we had 12 freights in 90 minutes.  At Köln West there were some more HGK diesels among the other motive power, plus 185 674 which I had seen several times at different locations during my holiday (it turned up again at Aachen Hbf later).

Eventually it was time to board ICE14 to Brussels (406 002) which was very busy in 1st class.  The journey to Brussels is now very quick since the NBS opened between Aachen and Liège.  Bankers at Liège were 2315/81/82.  At Schaarbeek depot I noted my first Class 18, 1809 which has been operating test trains all over Belgium and into Luxembourg.  Hopefully there will be more of these machines in traffic by the time of my next holiday but I'm not holding my breath! 
Eurostar 9153 was 3 min late in leaving Midi but otherwise the run back through the tunnel to St. Pancras was uneventful and we landed back there on time after another glorious holiday.

Visit Report. Alan Baxter reporting.
Friday 09 April 2010. Eurostar 9120 from St. Pancras, slow running past the site of February's crash at Buizingen, which extended all the way into Midi. ICE15 at 1225 was 406 001. No class 18 were sighted. I hear that 45 or so of these machines have been delivered but SNCB has not accepted any of them into traffic - miserable performers under dc catenary or something.

Köln: Before RB27 arrived at 1500 the previous departure from Platform 5 was a train of IC stock topped and tailed by two of the very rare Class 113, 267/309. RB27 was DD stock with 143 837 on the rear. Porz am Rhein now has its new station, an island just north of the previous old wooden structure which has been completely demolished.

Between Bonn-Oberkassel and Niederdollendorf some new track-work has been laid on the east side of the running lines, this is for the extension of the S-Bahn from Troisdorf to Linz am Rhein which is due for completion in 2014.

Konigswinter: the most interesting item to pass was the last of the Veolias, BB37531.

Köln West: the first station out of the Hbf on the line to Bonn Hbf and is a single island platform with freight lines on the east side. It is a good place to see HGK motive power and several of their diesels went past while I was there, including the inevitable Class 66, DE63. There was also a Vossloh G1206 numbered V2106 with MWB logos. A number of Class 189 were observed and an SNCB class 28 2808 headed north with a container train. The passenger side was also busy and 113 268 passed with IC stock heading towards Köln Hbf.

Saturday 10 April:
Köln: Saturday traffic in the Hbf at times there seemed to be too much traffic for the 9 platforms, particularly when there is late running and ICE3s are clogging up the middle of the station coupling and uncoupling and reversing. A motley selection of passenger stock came in topped by 115 154 and tailed by 110 329 in garish livery. ICE27 arrived on time formed of 411 061, this is one of the hourly services running down the Rhein Valley as far as Mainz. 186 181 with ITL logos was sitting at Köln-Eifeltor yard. Beyond Mainz the service heads for Frankfurt Hbf via the Flughafen. All trains from the Köln direction and making for Würzburg and beyond go in and out of the Hbf thus adding 25-30min to the journey time. Captrain's 186 149 was sitting at Aschaffenburg, and there was only one banker at Laufach which was 151 012.

Würzburg: The first interesting item was IC2082/4 Bertchesgaden/Oberstdorf-Hamburg which was OBB 1116 111 with DB stock. Presumably there is a service somewhere which uses OBB stock with a DB loco. The Frankfurt-Würzburg REs were hauled, in push-pull mode, by 185 552/4-7 in Mitsui black livery, the previous 111s having been borrowed to work in the München area. Some of the new stock in the form of Class 440 was sitting in Würzburg yard, this has not yet been accepted into traffic. Two 4-car sets, 440 038/041, were labelled Main-Franken Bahn and are identical to the Fuggers which were put into service around Augsburg last year. There was also a 3-car set 440 305 which had bicycle compartments in 2 of its coaches and doesn't look a particularly comfortable train to travel in. On the freight side 185 672 (EVB) went through southbound and two Vossloh types 271 020 and 275 846 with logos XR Gleislogistik were in the yard. A 218, 218 304 (D Bahn Gleisbau) ran through light engine north and there was even a 140, 140 353, in among the selection of 152s and 185s and Dispoloks which form the regular freight workings through this busy location. Another class which is rare in this area nowadays is class 155 and 155 016, which had been reinstated from the dump at Rostock, went past with a southbound freight.

Sunday 11 April: Würzburg Hbf 1100-1900.
Another busy day for traffic passing. The first item was 1116 111 returning with the train it had worked north the previous day. The next working of IC2082/4 at 1440 was 1016 005. ITL 189 200 worked north and three brand new 189s in Mitsui black, 189 153/2/5, went north light engines. A big Voith diesel with EVN 264 008 and logo Schienen Guter Logistik was pottering about in the yard. Later a Vossloh 2000 EVN 272 409, also carrying V204 and logo Rurtalbahn went north through Platform 5 with freight and a 66 with numbers DE6307 and 266 102 passed through Platform 1 in a southbound direction with a container train. Then another container train went south behind Cargoserv's 1216 930. Two of EBWs Class 221s then arrived in the yard. There was also a good mix of Dispolok 182 and 189 among the standard DB classes which even included 140 028 with southbound flats as a representative of the golden oldies. Local passenger traffic was mainly Class 111, with 146.2 and DD stock working Würzburg-Nurnberg via Bamberg, the occasional train going to/from Frankfurt. Class 143 was on the 2-hourly Stuttgart REs. There were also Class 612 formations on the even hour to Erfurt/Bad Kissingen, and at 36min past the even hour to Hof/Bayreuth. The other dmu working was a 628 to Lauda (on the line to Stuttgart) and then to Bad Mergentheim - this working was occasionally a 642. Long distance stuff was mainly ICE sets but there were two ICs for Hamburg/Flensburg which were hauled by 120 126 and 120 127.

Monday 12 April: A circular tour was planned outward to Hof then to Nürnberg and back to Würzburg. 612 064 formed the 0836 to Hof with 612 060 coupled behind which was for Bayreuth. The train left Würzburg on the left hand of three tracks as far as Rottendorf where the line towards Hof doubles and swings away from the line to Nurnberg. The first stop was at Schweinfurt where there was a connection available to Bad Kissingen/Erfurt, worked by the Erfurterbahn's single dmu sets of Class 650. The next junction is Bamberg where the train reversed before heading towards Lichtenfels.

Beyond this place we left the main line through the Frankenwald and made for the junction station of Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg where the portion for Bayreuth was detached. 50 3690 was on view in the DDM yard as well as some coaching stock. Following this there was a long stretch of single line through pleasant hilly country before joining the Saxon main line at Oberkotzau and running a short distance north to Hof. Hof is the last station before the old border, the Saxon main line remaining open during the Cold War, where the major IC service was Dresden-München worked by Class 218.

This continued until 2001 when DB introduced its new Class 605 to the route. These units were not successful, and DB next had the weird idea of painting 17 of its Class 612 in IC livery and putting those to work at the end of 2003. DB then had second thoughts about 612 as an IC unit and restored the Class 218 workings a year later but only until the end of 2006 when 612s returned, the service now downgraded to IR/IRE and cut back to Nürnberg.

We now have an hourly service alternately via Marktredwitz and via Bayreuth each taking around 4hr 15 min which is a long time to spend in a 612 without tilt! Hof then is mainly 612 with shorter services worked by 628 or by Arriva's single sets numbered as Class 650/654. A service to Regensburg is worked by Arriva's class 223 with hauled stock and 223 067 was in the yard with one such working. There was also 223 004 in Dispolok livery on freight. The electrification from Reichenbach, 44 miles north, is now in progress and will probably bring Class 143 to Hof as there are no emus in the old East. The 1437 to Nürnberg was a pair of 612s travelling a line which does not go under the wires until just outside Nürnberg Hbf. The precursor to the tilting 611 and 612, the class 610, is still working around Nürnberg. Return to Würzburg was in single deck stock with 111 226.

Tuesday 13 April: Today's outing was another circle, Würzburg to Passau then München and back to Würzburg. Before the train to Passau arrived at 09.31 another of the new 189s, 189 156 went south and a regular to the area, WLE 22 (EVN 223 056) headed north. The 09.31 to Wien was previously EC25 withÖBB stock topped and tailed by Class 1116, but has been a Class 411 since December 2007, in this case 411 059.

At Nurnberg a DB shunter with number 214 018 was sitting and I take this to be the previous 203 118. (No! 203s are ex DR 202 whilst 214s are ex DB 212- Ed) There were three Dispoloks 182 528/599/563 sitting coupled together at Regensburg, also two of the Arriva Class 183 002/005, and 223 067, another Arriva loco which had been seen the previous day, was arriving with a train from the Hof direction. Plattling contained another of the new class 440, this time 440 043 wearing the label Donau-Isar Bahn. Then a pleasant run beside the Donau before an on time arrival at Passau. This location was quiet and only 1044 036 and 1142 698 arrived and 628 578 left before I joined the train to München which was single deck stock with 111 107 at the rear. We passed the stabling point which is west of Passau Hbf, this contained 1044 017, 1016 008, 1116 279, 185 339 and RTS 2016 907, and continued back to Plattling before branching left on the single track to Landshut on the Regensburg-München line where 440 203, a five-car version of the new stock, was in the yard on a test run.

Landshut stabling point is south of the station and identifiable locos here were 185 294/359/136, 151 074/129 and 232 502. On the approach to München 1116 198 with historic stock was running in on a parallel track, and two more of the Arriva 183 001/003 were stabled outside the Hbf. München was busy with a great number of the early 111s, including 111 002, going about their business. I then joined 401 004 for the trip back to München. We stopped at Ingolstadt which has a busy yard, and two of the locos here were SBB Cargo Re482 038 and HGK DH704. Beyond Nürnberg another of the reinstated 155s, 155 040 was waiting to join the main line at Fürth.

This passed through Würzburg about half an hour after I got back, and its arrival coincided with the arrival of 143 922 from Stuttgart. The interest in this loco is that in its previous guise as 243 922 it was one of two locos hired to the Swiss SOB in 1990. The other was numbered 250 252 at the time and later became 155 252.

Howard Forster- Thursday 10/06/10
Prora Museum. It was only possible to see the exhibits in the main viewing areas. The P36 and all of the standard gauge steam & electric locos listed in the LCGB book were on view. In a side room was an exhibition of some of the Kofs from the collection. The only narrow gauge locos on display were three ex army diesels. Fire engines, cars, some of the trams and a MIG fighter were the other exhibits.

Mukran. 47 232s remained in store.
There appeared to be little work for the railway, as the shed was locked up and the offices deserted. In the shed area were six 347s, one 290 & two 291s. Locked up in the shed were two brand new, grey painted, unnumbered big diesels, presumably for export. Interestingly, on the walls of the shed are permanent notices stating that photography is forbidden.

Putbus It was not possible to gain access to the two road shed, but we were informed that it was empty. “99.4011” was being coaled between workings. 52/3 MH both in green livery were in the yard. 251.901 was shed pilot. Not previously listed 199.008 0-6-0 DH was also present.

(Photos Howard Forster) Along past the station, 99.4652 with a rake of stock was at the museum. Locked up in the small shed was a small black diesel which may have been “Kof 6001”. Storedalongside the line, opposite the museum were: 99.783, CFR 764.431, ”99.4603” & 99.594, all in reasonably good condition.

Friday 11/06/10, Pasewalk. On the assumption that one of the small diesels with no ID was LKM 252066/59, then the locos listed in the LCGB book were present. Also on site were ASF 1 ex Chemnitz, 312.253 & another 4w DH by Gmeinder.

Back to Index


Howard Forster July 2009.
Friday, 31/07/09. Budapest Keleti. Now that so many trains in the European Union are multiple units, it was like stepping back in time to see a station dominated by loco hauled trains. In a 90 minute period, 24 trains were hauled by electric locos while 3 electric and 2 diesel station pilots scurried to and fro.

Saturday, 01/08/09, Budapest Keleti.
In an hour, a further 20 locomotive hauled trains were recorded. Fusti Locomotive Park. The only working steam loco on site was 424.247, which was having a washout; presumably the other working steam locomotives were in Istvantelek Works. Additional locos since our last visit were: 303.002,424.365,VF 032 (ex V42.001) and snowplough 703.753 (ex OBB 380.122).
There was no trace of 375.1032 and V60.003, both had been reported as being destined for the park. Budapest Childrens Railway. A pleasant tram trip up the hill took us to Huvosvolgy, which is where the shed is located. Inside the shed were 490.056 and MK49.2006. Dumped outside were C50.3788 De495.5004 (M4) and MK45.2009. Observed in service were: 490.039 and MK45.2001-5. On descending by tram from Huvosvolgy, a stop was made at Varosmajor in order to travel on the BKV-SFV to Szechenyi-hegy. Although the rack cars have panoramic windows, the view was totally obscured by trees and at the terminus it was a walk to a viewpoint, which made it a little disappointing when compared with other rack railways. Advantage was taken of the free travel offered to all members of the EU over the age of 65. On production of a passport, it is now possible to travel on internal MAV trains, by underground, by tram and by bus. Many checks were made, but only a cursory glance at the passport sufficed, this was particularly useful for going through the barriers at Keleti.

Budapest Childrens Railway. In the shed at Huvosvolgy was 490.056 0-8-0T Bp 5848/1950. 01/08/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Vychodne. '331.037' 2-6-2T Bp 5884/48 was brought from MAV and is now in working order. 02/08/09
Photo by Howard Forster

Vychodne. ZSR Museum, 310.097 0-6-0T PCM 67/01 has been beautifully restored. 02/08/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Vychodne. ZSSK 240.078 was recently ex works. 02/08/09
Photo by Howard Forster

HUNGARY: 09th – 21st SEPTEMBER 2000 by Mike Swift

Authentic, traditional, narrow gauge railways that provide a regular daily service carrying children, workers and shoppers between country villages and towns and cities are now extremely rare. Many survived in Eastern Europe but political changes over the last twenty years spelled the end for some and those that remain are primarily dedicated to leisure and tourism, with train services often restricted to a few hours each day or even weekends. In Hungary two 760 mm gauge lines continue to operate in the traditional way but, because they were modernised with diesel traction and new all-steel rolling stock around 1960, they had less appeal than those countries where steam traction and older equipment remained dominant. In recent years, however, freight traffic has disappeared and passenger numbers declined so their future is now uncertain. Several 760 mm gauge former forestry railways still operate trains carrying tourists into the hills but these are expected to continue. Our experience of business travel in Hungary extends back more than 25 years so its attractions were well known, especially the transport museums, food and wine that always set the country apart from others in eastern Europe so a visit seemed essential before this traditional scene was gone for ever.

Planning a tour to include as many lines as possible presented a logistical dilemma, particularly as many tourist railways run just a few trains at weekends, but a twelve day programme finally evolved and followed a circular route to visit Kecskemét, Gyöngyös, Eger, Miskolc, Nyíregyháza, Debrecen and Budapest. Travel by public transport in Hungary is now free to EU residents over the age of 65: just show your passport to ride anywhere on buses, trams, Budapest metro and second class on trains, in first class by paying the additional cost above second class and in InterCity trains by paying the seat reservation supplement. This is a significant saving but an even greater benefit in terms of convenience when travel plans change. Train schedules were sourced from Cook’s European Timetable, the MÁV-START website, and a number of specialist websites, especially which includes a wealth of current and historical detail on narrow gauge railways. Hotel staff willingly provided connecting bus schedules, usually by reference to local websites, with an alacrity that would be unthinkable in Britain.

We met up at Budapest’s Ferihegy Airport, where seat reservations were purchased at the tourist information desk, before walking a few minutes to the station, a very basic structure of two platforms, shelter and overbridge with lifts. IC 766 HIRÖS rolled in behind BoBo electric loco V43.1001, the prototype of a class that handles most trains in Hungary, and we climbed on board the front coach to discover our reserved seats were seven coaches away at the rear! Deciding to stay put I was treated to a friendly discussion with a Transylvanian exile, while Ken helped a young man prepare the English portion of his CV. Arriving at Kecskemét we found the Hotel Háry just a few minutes walk from the station and, beyond the adjacent bus station, the Bavaria Restaurant made us very welcome and served a fantastic Hungarian/German dinner.

MÁV, Kecskemét to Kiskunmajsa and Kisköros
This 760 mm gauge line in the rural plain south of Kecskemét divides into two branches, each served by three trains daily, but timed so that a trip over both lines necessitates an 07:10 departure and 20:42 return, so we opted to ride only the 13:10 to Kiskunmajsa. A morning stroll to the Tourist Office in the town centre confirmed the location of the station and preceded a walk of several hundred yards to the ring road, then forward to a road bridge over the main line and, beyond it, Kecskemét KK station at Halasi ut. 19. This is an imposing two-storey building with “K G V” (Kecskeméti Gazdasági Vasút) in filigree ironwork on the roof ridge. A plaque commemorates 75 years of operation from 1928 to 2003, but flaking paint and tattered curtains signified neglect and decay. The waiting room was open, with its wooden benches chained together in the centre of the floor but the ticket office was long disused, though as if to encourage potential passengers an excellent town map and current timetables were prominently displayed.

Outside, beyond a row of shady trees in the sand-covered area that serves as platforms, stood two sets of five coaches, one in blue (overhauled 13.07.09) and one in green, marked for the 23rd Bugaci Nostalgia train, on 9th August 2008. Both were immaculate but receiving careful attention, both inside and out, from two cleaners. An adjacent siding incorporates newly constructed oil traps alongside a container housing fuel tanks and pumps to supply the locomotives. Beyond the station is the shed where 0-8-0T 490,053 (Budapest 5274/1942), and three BBDH, Mk48 2030, Mk48 2036 and Mk48 2022 were found, the latter on jacks in the workshop. Two inspection cars, MÁEV S.Ò5-207 and a Ford car conversion also resided in the yard.

Class Mk48 2000 locos operate many of 760 mm gauge lines in Hungary. Wilhelm Pieck Vagon- és Gépgyár, Gyor built 39 in 1961, originally with 100 kW (133 h.p.) RÁBA diesel engines but upgraded in the 1970s with RÁBA-MAN 147 kW (196 h.p.) engines. They are well maintained and regularly overhauled and repainted, those on MÁV lines in red with grey frames, those on forestry railways generally green with black frames though some are finished in shades of red or yellow. (Details of these seen are listed in Appendix 2).

A sign by the station marks the Keskeny Nyomközu Vasúti Jármúskansen (Narrow Gauge Railway Park), two grass-grown tracks holding a derelict 4wDM GV 3719, a vandalised bogie coach, ten freight vehicles and a transporter wagon, partly overgrown and in poor condition.

At mid-day a period of activity began: the 12:45 arrival from Kiskunmajsa rolled in behind Mk48 2013, ex-works just three weeks earlier and spotless in bright red with yellow ends and trim. Four passengers descended from the single coach while the loco cut off to take on fuel, its value alone no doubt far exceeding any income from fares. Then, at 13:08 Mk48 2008 arrived with one coach from Kisköros carrying a few passengers. Mk48 2030, its paintwork shabby and faded, emerged from the shed yard and, after reversing its coach into the yard to switch tracks, prepared to depart with the 13:10 to Kiskunmajsa. These movements were controlled by the station mistress, whose hand and whistle signals were executed in a style that signified her authority, until – satisfied that all was in order – a final whistle and raising of the green baton confirmed that our journey could commence, seven minutes late.

Our coach was an all-steel bogie vehicle built by the MÁV workshops at Debrecen in 1961. A vestibule at one end opened into the passenger saloon, containing 25 slatted wooden seats and a cast iron stove. Next was a lobby with the toilet on one side and a padded bench seat over the coal box on the other, then the conductor’s compartment with a bench seat and table, and finally the large baggage compartment with double doors on either side. Seven passengers were on board - an old lady with her grandson, a middle aged man, a younger, dark skinned man who stowed his bicycle in the baggage area and three visitors just along for the ride. Ahead stretched 52 km of narrow gauge track, and 2½ hours to enjoy it.

The line swerved on to the roadside immediately on leaving the station and continued along or close to the wide verge for the first 16km to Jakabszallas. The rails are nominally 20 kg/m, jointed and mostly on concrete sleepers laid in sand or, in a few places stone ballast, giving a reasonable ride at the line speed of 40-50 k.p.h. It traversed a flat plain and in consequence had long straight stretches with occasional easy curves. Once out of the suburbs it passed fruit groves and small farms that were gradually left behind to enter a prairie like landscape extending to woodland, sometimes distant, sometimes close enough to brush the coach sides. Though some stations served villages others were simply a nameboard by the lineside with no sign of habitation to justify the title. After 8 km. we reached Törökfai, junction of the branch to Kisköros which peeled off westwards into the trees. Here the conductor unlocked the disused station building to report our position, the old lady and her grandson alighted and a man came aboard. Jakabszallas also sported a fine station building, no longer staffed, and here we gained a girl passenger before hurrying over an unprotected crossing of the main road, horn blaring, and headed into the countryside between well-stocked gardens.

We stopped at Koksistanya, a nameboard beside a sandy track just as a farmer’s car and trailer bumped past in a cloud of dust, where the dark man unloaded his bike, and rode off to some unseen destination. A derelict brick goods shed, loading dock and crane base denoted former freight traffic at Bugacpuszta, while horse pastures and showgrounds around Bugac marked it as a destination for tourist trains to events and the adjacent national park. A man left the train here but a schoolgirl joined us for the 30 minute run to Nagybugac, here to be met by a pick-up truck that drove off down a sandy track, pausing to allow our train precedence at a crossing. The isolated nature of much of this route, far from roads and centres of population, has perhaps ensured its survival. By now we were the only passengers and, perhaps anticipating there would be no others the conductor fell asleep in his compartment and the train left each successive station before time until at Szank we were 12 minutes early and waited for an on time departure. The main station at Kiskunmajsa KK was derelict and overgrown, the engine shed disused, turntable pit filled with rubbish and sidings choked with rotting wagons; so we ran straight through to a dead-end siding in the former tranship yard beside the main line, arriving two minutes early at 15:45. Here we dropped off, allowing the train to scuttle back to the station, where the loco could run round and return to Kecskemét at 16:11. We elected to return by the main line and six minutes later were rushed away in a lightweight, two-coach train behind V43 1226 to reach Kecskemét just 52 minutes later.

Kecskemet to Gyöngyös
We had two options for this journey: via Budapest (though this involved changing stations in the capital), or a cross-country route involving four changes and a 45-minute layover at Szolnok, an important junction. The latter seemed more interesting so at 08:47 we boarded IC 707, nine coaches headed by a pair of V43 electric locos, for the 24-minute run to Cegléd. Here we had just eight minutes to photograph 2-4-2T 275,118 plinthed on the platform before joining an express destined for Záhony. By 09:45 we were at Szolnok, a monumental station building with a vast subway leading to 15 platforms. Plaques on the station wall recorded 125 years of the Pest - Szolnokí railway opened 1st Sept. 1847, the line north to Hatvan opened in 1873 and 100 years of the Szolnok – Kiskunfélégyhaza line opened in 1897. Preserved in the garden by the offices was 4-8-0 424,320 built at Budapest in 1955.

There was time to observe activity in the station and yard before taking the 10:33 to Hatvan, a V43 hauling three smart coaches built in 2009. The track became single after leaving the direct line to Budapest and headed straight through vast fields stretching to the horizon, dropping passengers at stations serving small villages or sometimes just a cluster of houses. At the majority a stationmaster signalled our departure, then stood to attention as we left. At Jászberény we crossed Lugansk CoCoDE M62 230 on a train of large bogie vans, and reached Hatvan a few minutes before our 12-noon departure to Vámosgyörk, where V43 1361 and two coaches provided the push-pull shuttle service to Gyöngyös.

Állami Erdei Vasutek (ÁEV), Mátravasút, Gyöngyös
Located by a park a few minutes walk from the main line station, this wooden station had a distinctive peaked roof and housed a booking office and the Kisvasút Bufé, a very basic facility offering drinks. The 760 mm gauge track layout was simple: a platform road and run-round extending across the adjacent road crossing to frustrate car drivers. On the opposite side of the road were the carriage shed and loco shed housing 0-8-0T 490,2005, (a Romanian refugee - Resita 1682/1954), BBDH Mk48-410 and Mk48-409, the latter being fitted with replacement bogies. The depot and offices were shared with forest service staff.

Trains leave for Mátrafüred every two hours from 10:00 to 16:00, the return fare for the 3.2 km journey being HUF 780. Mk48-412 with one closed and one open coach formed the 14:00 departure, which left with nine passengers. The line runs either alongside or close to the main road, flanked on one side first by huge apartment blocks and shops, later by vineyards. It served five intermediate stations, that at Farkasmály-Borpincék having a passing loop, and approached the terminus through a broad avenue of trees to halt at an elaborate wooden building beside the run-round loop, whose powered points were operated from a panel in the station. The round trip, including a 23-minute layover at the terminus, took just over an hour.

Gyöngyös to Eger
Our careful travel plans were frustrated at Vámosgyörk when we boarded a packed train bound, we thought, for Eger but, when it continued along the main line at Füzesabony we realised it must be a “Friday extra” to Miskolc. Alighting at Mezökövesd, we had 45 minutes to study 2-6-2T 376,531 preserved just off the platform and noted that at least one other passenger had made the same mistake! Our return to Füzesabony was on the 14:57 from Košice in Slovakia, an opportunity to travel in an elderly, but extremely comfortable Slovenian Railways compartment coach, well off its regular route. Our connection to Eger was a pair of Bzmot 4wDH railbuses and trailers, that rode far smoother than British class 142s. At Eger station a plaque commemorated 125 years of the railway on 20th October 1997. A taxi took us to the Hotel Senator-Ház, a fine old building in the cobbled square, where a warm welcome, an excellent dinner and splendid local wine soothed our earlier frustration.

Egererdö Erdészeti Zrt., ÁEV Felsotárkány - Stimeczház
This former forestry railway is now truncated to Felsotárkány, a village a few kilometers from Eger, but our hotel confirmed bus connections at 08:50 and 10:05. We walked through the old town to the brutalist concrete bus station to take bus 11 to the long, straggling village where the bus driver obligingly dropped us at the station, a single platform beside the road. Here 4wDM C-04-406 waited with one semi-open, end-balcony coach forming the 09:30 departure, one of two daily trains, on which our 15 jovial fellow passengers were arrayed along the bench seats, destined for a day of walking, eating and drinking. We departed to run through the shed yard, before being flagged across the main road to follow the bends and varying gradients of a minor road for 2 km. to the station of Egersvolgy-Varroház, where the line veered into a narrow side valley clothed in beech trees. It climbed steeply, through sharp curves where flanges squealed in protest, to reach a small clearing with a run round loop, then continued a short distance round a curve to Stimeczház, where a grass platform, nameboard and fence mark the “station”. Two large awnings and barbecue pits completed the facilities, which we now had 1 hour 40 minutes to examine. A post on the platform stated 11.8 km, obviously from the original terminus in Eger before the line was cut back to its present 5 km.

The train crew sold drinks from a cooler on the coach, then gravitated to the run-round before propelling the coach back into the station for a long wait in the sun. Most of the return journey was made by gravity, the conductor controlling our speed by a handbrake on the coach until about 1.5 km from home the engine was started and we completed the journey under its power. We were invited into the depot yard to examine the spare train: 4wDM C-04-404 and two closed coaches with stoves for winter operation, one of which carries an Orenstein & Koppel, Budapest plate. In the shed was 4wDM C-04-403 and their prized “speeder” S-04-001. This four-seat semi-open vehicle, powered by a Trabant two-stroke petrol engine and fitted with a retractable turntable, was started up and demonstrated with great pride before everyone went off for lunch. We strolled across the road to a rustic shelter to join the 12:38 bus to Felnémet, where we had half an hour to enjoy coffee before boarding the 13:27 bus for the 30 minute ride up the winding, forested road to Szilvásvárad.

ÁEV, Szilvásvárad, Szalajka-Fatelep to Szalajka-Fátyolvízesés
The avenue leading from the main road to Szalajka-Fatelep station is lined with restaurants and stalls, and on a Saturday afternoon was thronged with visitors. A fence separated the station forecourt from the platform and run-round loop, the access gates being opened only when a train had arrived and discharged its passengers. Although the timetable showed seven trains a day it appears that extras are run as required. Beyond the station the former timber yard is now a car park, and on a loading dock beside the remains of standard gauge sidings is a display of narrow gauge rolling stock under the trees.

We boarded a relief to the 14:20 train formed of Mk48 404 and four open bogie coaches filled to capacity. Though the line is only 3.2 km long it was a scenic journey as the train climbed through the forest to gain a rocky shelf high above the valley, curved round a passing loop in a clearing and arrived at Szalajka-Fátyolvízesés terminus which overlooked a large play area and picnic site. Mk48 403 stood on the adjacent track ready to depart with a three-coach train, on which we returned.

Behind the car park at Fatelep a modern, three road loco shed and workshop housed BBDH Mk48 411 and 0-6-0DM D04-602 (LKM Babelsburg 1953). Outside, being prepared to work a private charter, stood 0-6-0WT 394,057 SZILVI (Budapest 5785/1949), restored to working order in 1999 and finished in a smart green livery lined out in red. It burns split logs, exuding that distinctive aroma inseparable from wood-firing, and left for the station propelling a single closed coach to collect 11 passengers to run up the line and back. It then returned to the shed a little over an hour after it emerged in steam.

Deciding to return to Eger by train we had a 15 minute walk to the MÁV station at Szilvásvárad-Szalajkavölgy, where we contemplated the uneven track before railcars Bzmot 202 + 176 flanking two trailers arrived for the 50 minute run to Egervár, a few minutes easy walk from the town centre. Another relaxed evening of dining al fresco was another rare treat for visitors from Yorkshire.

Északerdó Zrt., Lillafúredi Allami Erdei Vasut (LÁEV), Miskolc - Garadna
Our return from Eger was on 5341.016 & 035, a modern 4-car EMU built by Stadler in 2003, as far as the junction, where we had 50 minutes to wait for a 12-coach train bound for the Slovakian border station of Sátoraljaújhely. We reached Miskolc at 12:26 and took a taxi to the Hotel Lévay Villa, a fine building dating from 1917 which, though some distance from the town centre, had a bus service from the door to the station every ten minutes.

The LÁEV station is at Dorotta ut., at right angles to the main road and tram route 1 about 5 km from the main line station. A booking office and restaurant occupy the station building, which opened on to a single platform road and run-round. A large billboard faced the road and featured 0-8-0 447,401 LILLA, our view of which was limited to a glimpse of the smokebox as we passed the partly open door of its shed at Diósgyör. Five trains travel the 14km to Garadna on weekdays and a flat return fare of HUF 1500 is charged. We joined the 14:00 departure, formed of BBDH D02-510 and three semi-open coaches dating from 1955. After leaving the station the line curved round to run through a residential area to Majláth, where it ran between sidings full of decaying freight stock before reaching the extensive depot and workshops. Here it crossed the road and began the climb to Papírgyár, junction of the line to Mahóca that sees trains only in high summer. The track now entered a forest that extends all the way to the terminus, climbing very steeply along a shelf overlooking houses in the valley below and, at one point, crossed a high viaduct.

At Puskaporos our train paused to cross D02-541 descending with four old-style coaches, before passing through a short tunnel and entering the station at Lillafüred, an ornate building with a large platform, turning triangle and long headshunt with a platform to accommodate terminating trains clear of the main line. A park, stalls and cafes surround the station, which overlooks the splendidly ornate Hotel Palota. Immediately after leaving the station the line crossed a road and plunged into an unlined rock tunnel to emerge on a ledge overlooking a narrow lake. Beyond this is a trout farm, and a little further along a large, stone-built iron furnace and ironworks museum, followed by the remains of a large timber-loading yard, its sidings now almost obscured by undergrowth. The valley narrowed to accommodate just the railway, river and road and soon reached Garadna station, a simple gravel platform and run-round beside the forestry and railway museum where nicely restored items of rolling stock were displayed on short lengths of track in the yard. We returned to Miskolc after a few minutes to ride the tram back to the station and, that evening, strolled to a Belgian Beer Cafe for another substantial meal and hear about a visiting Hungarian restaurant manager’s experience of working in England.

MÁV Nyíregyháza – Balsa and Dombrád
We left Miskolc on IC 655, one of the six daily trains that follow a circular route from Budapest to Miskolc, returning via Debrecen to arrive in Budapest six hours later. A HUF 900 supplement enabled us to occupy the restaurant car and enjoy coffee and pancakes as we sped towards Nyíregyháza, interrupted only by the sight of 4-8-0 424,353 displayed on the station platform at Tokaj. Once checked into the Hotel Korona, an elaborate 1895 building with stylish period features including a huge contemporary mural in the restaurant, we took the bus back to the station and followed the 760 mm gauge track to the depot some 400 yards distant. Here BBDH Mk48 2024 stood in the yard, which sports a turntable in front of the shed, together with a variety of stock including a decrepit four-wheeled coach (carrying the initials N V D K V -Nyírvidéki Kisvasut - on the axleboxes) that appeared to be set aside for future restoration.

Nyíregyháza station is a new, stylish concrete, glass and stainless steel building with a broad awning over the entrance, under which passes the narrow gauge track from the depot to a new single platform at one side. After a long wait the 16:36 arrival from Balsa, Mk48 2012 and one coach, finally appeared 30 minutes late, dropped its passengers and disappeared to the depot. The loco soon returned with two coaches to form the 17:06 departure and was ready to depart at 17:17, with 15 passengers in the front coach and a gypsy family apparently living in the rear coach. We decided to take a 20 minute run to Sóstófürdö, much of which is alongside the standard gauge (where a V43 overtook us on an eastbound train) before we veered off into the woods and crossed high over the main line to follow the main road into the village. The large station building is now a four star hotel and spa, but under the trees beyond the platform 2-4-2T 275,064 is displayed and, across the road, the incongruous “424 Irish Pub” named after the MÁV class of 4-8-0. Rather than wait an hour for the return train, and unsure if it would arrive on time, we returned on the next bus.

The following morning an early bus took us to the station in good time to catch the 08:26 train to Balsa, anticipated by quite a crowd on the platform, almost all of them elderly and many carrying large bundles or huge plastic carrier bags. Mk48 2025 arrived with two coaches, everyone piled on and we left eight minutes late on what the timetable promised to be a two-hour journey to cover the 38km to Balsa. Ten minutes later we reached Vásártér, a large open market where about 25 passengers alighted with their bundles. There were now just seven passengers in our coach, built at Debrecen in 1961, which had slatted wood seats for 54, enclosed vestibules at either end, one leading into the tiny toilet and, in the centre, two cast iron stoves testifying to extreme winter cold. Several shifty looking characters occupied the rear coach and were ignored by the conductor, suggesting they may have been permitted to travel free provided they did not mix with regular travellers. You really do meet a different class of people on the narrow gauge!

After Sóstófürdö the neat houses and gardens of the outer suburbs gave way to a flat agricultural landscape, its monotony broken only by villages every few kilometres. At Kótaj the line ran down the edge of the street, past gardens where elderly people tended flowers or dug vegetables, and at the station five passengers left the rear coach with their large bags. The loco sounded its horn briefly but often lest a careless driver should get in our way and from here to Újkótaj we crawled along at such a slow pace that a cyclist overtook us and conversed with the conductor as he passed. At Nagytanya we were 25 minutes late, but took on one patient passenger, and seemed to speed up – but only for a short distance before the loco again began to lurch and roll over the uneven track and we were back to walking pace again. The rails are about 20 kg/m on wood or concrete sleepers laid in sand or gravel ballast. Many showed kinks, burns or excessive wear and at least one was broken through 3 inches from a joint – but we bumped over it. Speed restriction signs of 20 and 15 k.p.h were posted at frequent intervals but the only track maintenance men we saw were in a pick-up truck loaded with similar signs for distribution along the line. Colour light signals guarded the loops at some stations but we could not determine whether these were actually in use or simply a relic of more prosperous times. At Buj an old man left the train in front of a disused station building that faced on to a grass covered loop and siding, while two photographers recorded our departure.

We arrived at Herminatanya, junction of the lines to Balsa and Dombrád, 33 minutes late. The station consists of a through track for each branch, a central run-round and a long siding holding rail flats and ballast wagons. Beyond the station a direct connection between the lines from Balsa and Dombrád forms the third side of a triangle. A red-capped stationmaster emerged from his office to preside over the flurry of activity involving Mk48 2016 and Mk48 2024, which had arrived from Balsa and Dombrád, each with one coach, the former coupling both together to return to Nyíregyhaza. Our loco dropped the rear coach for Mk48 2024 to take on to Dombrád, then left for Balsa with one coach and five passengers. The entire operation took only a few minutes, the stationmaster using his bicycle to reach the furthest set of points, after which silence returned to the junction for another two hours.

A smart new white block shelter with a tiled roof graced the halt at Gilyani, a marked contrast to Tiszabercel where the station was boarded up and neglected. Here the line again ran along the village street, past brightly coloured cottages with fenced gardens and wooden privies. The halt at Tisza-Vasater sported a new sign but no other facilities, and here the conductor helped an elderly lady with a stick and two large shopping bags to leave the train – she had accompanied us all the way from Nyíregyháza. The last ordinary passenger left at Gávavenscellö, where the line followed the bank of a large irrigation canal kept in trim by a flock of sheep tended by a shepherd, whose charges seemed unconcerned at our passage. In the final two kilometres the track crossed the road for the last time, passed a line of bungalows and a large restaurant overlooking a lake. We finally reached Balsa 53 minutes late, where the cream stucco and red tiled station building faced a gravel platform and run-round and a metal plaque on the wall recorded “Nyírvidéki Kisvasút 1911 – 2007”. The line continued beyond the station for 1 km to the Tisza river, a popular recreation area served in 2009 by trains between 24th April and 30th August. Our plan to examine this during the hour layover was curtailed when the train crew emerged from the station to announce our departure fifteen minutes after arriving.

A passenger joined us for the 6 km. run from Gávavenscellö alsó and Tiszabercel-Vásártér, but otherwise we had the train to ourselves for a leisurely journey to Herminatanya, where our loco dropped its coach and parked in the centre track. A couple from Vienna appeared to photograph the arrival of Mk48 2016 and one coach from Dombrád, which ran through the station and reversed to couple on to the coach at the platform. The station simmered in the noonday heat, there was no sign of the train due from Nyíregyháza, so we strolled to a roadside stall for a cool beer until a distant horn heralded its arrival. After a few minutes activity all three trains departed, we being the sole passengers in the coach to Dombrád behind Mk48 2024. More roadside running ensued through the village of Ibrány where the smart station building was again disused, then out into an expanse of fields growing maize and sunflowers, the flat landscape broken only by a line of telegraph poles, bereft of wires and leaning away from the track. As we approached Nagyhalász Mk48 2026, in green livery, was noted on a plinth beside the road, which we followed through the village. Out in the country again our loco accelerated to almost 30 k.p.h. past a farm where a pair of scruffy dogs rushed out to chase the train and two chickens were almost mangled as they flapped across the track.

This brief sprint was not sustained however, and we arrived at Dombrád 75 minutes late. The station building and gravelled yard were neat and well cared for with a small loco shed, turning triangle and sidings, some displaying preserved rolling stock including BBDH Mk48 2020. Three semi-open tourist coaches are also kept here. A metal plaque records the centenary of the railway in 2005 but we had no time to examine the small museum as, seven minutes after our arrival, we were returning to Herminatanya. We picked up four passengers on the way, despite being 40 minutes late and, by adhering to the many speed restrictions, were an hour late at the junction. The now familiar ballet as three locos exchanged coaches, choreographed by the stationmaster with whistle and baton, took just four minutes before we settled down for the journey to Nyíregyhaza behind Mk48 2025. A gypsy woman in our coach removed her shoes but fortunately it was warm enough to have the windows open. As we passed down the village street at Újkotáj a radar speed indicator showed 13 k.p.h, this slow progress ensuring a 77 minutes late arrival back at Nyíregyháza. A solitary passenger detrained but we remained on board for the short journey to the depot, where we were informed that the return working that should have left 35 minutes earlier had been cancelled.

Still, we had enjoyed more that nine hours riding a truly authentic rural narrow gauge railway that, two days later from 17th September, was truncated when the Herminatanya to Balsa and Dombrad services were replaced by buses, hopefully to allow track repairs, but perhaps permanently.

Nyíregyháza to Debrecen
At the station the following morning we found 2-6-2T 375,694 plinthed in front of the offices, before boarding a Zahony – Budapest express loaded to ten rather tired compartment coaches, to arrive in Debrecen at 10:28. In the tram turning circle outside the station stood a decorated car celebrating 125 years of the system. A taxi took us to the Zsuzsi Erdei Kisvasút station on the outskirts of the town where we discovered that from September 1st to October 25th three trains make the 17km run to Hármashegyalja on Saturday and Sunday, but on weekdays only on Wednesday at 10:30 and 14:00. The morning train was not due to return until 13:45 so we had ample time to look round, encouraged by the lady in charge who brought out brochures and posed beside a neat pile of rail screws. The layout is very simple: a loop in the station and two sidings in the yard, where five bogie coaches and a few freight wagons were parked, one loaded with the body of an Mk48 BBDH. The track extends a few hundred metres through the station into the former timber yard, where a train of smart, green coaches was parked, and terminates at the loco shed where BBDH Mk48 2006 and one other (assumed to be 2009) and 0-6-0T 394,023 (Bp 4859/1924) could be glimpsed inside. On a standard gauge siding in the adjacent works of Hajdúfa Kft., stood a disused 4wDM track maintenance vehicle perhaps once used as a shunter in the timber yard.

Mk48 2002 returned from the forest with two coaches carrying about a dozen passengers, just before we took a bus and trolley bus back to the station, where we decided to invest HUF 1480 (£4.85) in 1st class seats, and boarded IC 655 KAMILLA for the 221 km. journey to Budapest. At Puspökladány station we noted 2-6-2T 376,578 on its plinth, before relaxing into our red plush seats to complete the remainder of the journey in peaceful, air conditioned comfort, a complete contrast to the previous day on the narrow gauge.
Ipoly Erdö Rt., Királyréti Erdei Vasút, Kismaros.
Of the two 760 mm gauge railways north of Budapest only this former forestry line from Kismaros is easily accessible by hourly express train from Nyugati station to Szob. The journey took 40 minutes, passing Vác, terminus of the more frequent suburban service, where 2-6-2T 375,1029 is plinthed at the station.

At the roadside below the main line station stands Kismaros narrow gauge station, from where a disused track extends under the railway bridge towards Veröce. On the platform stands 600 mm gauge 0-6-0WT 356,301 (Krauss 4713/1901), a survivor from the original line converted to its present gauge in 1978-81, but we had little time to examine it before departure. Mk48 2031, unusually in bright yellow livery, and one end balcony bogie coach rebuilt from a log wagon formed the 11:50 train for the 12 km journey to Királyrét at a return fare of HUF 1000. Two housewives returning home with shopping were the only other passengers as we left to run alongside the road, sometimes dodging behind a hedge for a short distance. The track is laid with timber sleepers on grass-grown stone ballast but a little uneven in places, and a short distance out we slowed to pass a seven-man track repair gang replacing sleepers and a kinked rail. It soon crossed the road and started to climb away from the valley into the upper part of Szokolya village where it runs alongside the street. We called at two halts to drop off the shoppers before reaching Paphegy station and the depot, where Mk48 2014 was stabled and Mk48 2018 dumped outside. Former CFF Romania 0-8-0T 490,2004 was reported to be here but not seen during a brief halt to collect tools for the track gang. The final stretch runs through fields and woods to terminate in front of a big shelter close to a restaurant and picnic site where a large oval of 760 mm gauge track is provided with rail cycles to amuse visiting children. A 20-minute layover gave barely enough time for a quick look round before we were ready to return and invited to join the young driver in the cab, who told of his work as a volunteer driver on the nearby Kemence Forestry Museum Railway.

MÁV Széchenyi Hill Children’s Railway, Budapest
This 760 mm gauge line has been a favourite attraction since our first visit more than 25 years ago. Now, for the first time we had the opportunity to ride behind steam, but discovered the schedule just two minutes before the train left Huvösvölgy! It was extremely crowded, despite the single fare of HUF 700 and a HUF 200 supplement, but 0-8-0T 490,039 (Bp 5260/1942) handled the two closed bogie coaches with ease, despite fearsome gradients on some sections of the 12 km route. A basic 45-minute interval service operates at weekends, diesel locos and two coaches taking 44 minutes for the journey with seven intermediate stops. Two trains on Saturday and Sunday, at 11:10 and 13:40, are steam worked and allowed an hour with four intermediate stops although in practice we stopped at most stations to cross other trains hauled by BBDH Mk45 2002, 2005 or 2006, all built in Romania by U23A in 1972.

The line winds and climbs through woodland for most of the route, with views limited to a few gaps in the trees. Children are still involved in its operation and are smart and efficient, the 12-year old assistant conductress coping admirably with issuing tickets in a crowded coach and ensuring that the doors were closed for safety. At stations the stationmaster and his young assistants stood to attention and saluted as we left, with all the style and ceremony appropriate to an international express. On arrival at Széchenyi passengers crowded round the loco to observe the ritual of taking water from a hose at the platform, while another crowd formed in the booking hall under a fine mural of “Young Pioneers” marching to work on the railway. On the return journey a group of children crowded the vestibule next to the loco, fascinated by the gyration of polished valve motion, lurch of the smokebox and swing of hoses as we rounded sharp curves, and the hiss and cough of the air pump as it kept up pressure in the braking system. A leaflet extolling the benefits of serving on the railway is published but we could not find a similar one containing timetables, though these are displayed at stations.

The rack railway to Széchenyi Hill, which terminates close to the railway, is now showing signs of age and the Swiss-built motor cars are rough and noisy when climbing the rack. A faulty sliding door delayed our departure and a fitter had to ride with us to manually operate the mechanism.

Budapest Transport Museums
On a cool, wet day – in total contrast to the warm, sunny weather during most of our stay in Hungary – we decided to visit museums and discovered that some permit free entry to visitors over 70. Travel within the city is simple to plan with the aid of a BKV map, though surprisingly we discovered this was not available at their head office! The HÉV suburban line train took an hour to reach Szentendre, where the BKV Urban Public Transport Museum (Városi Tömegközlekedési Múzeum) occupies the former depot and workshops, and is devoted to tramways and local railways not only in present day Hungary but also in other cities of the former Austro Hungarian empire. Photographic displays and information panels are, in consequence, comprehensive and very informative.

The main depot building houses a large collection of restored electric trams and trailers and a few locomotives including BHEV 4, HARASZTI, a 0-4-0Tram built at the StEG works in 1887 and restored by MÁV in 1987. Electric locos are BLVV 1, a steeple-cab BoWE (Ganz 1900); BLVV V25 001 BoWE (Gyór 1912) and BHEV L21 BoWE (Kistarcsa 1918). Outside in the yard are 0-6-0T 28 (Bp 1688/1902), BHEV BoDE locos DL41 and DL42 (Kistarcsa 1912 and 1917); 32 BoBoWE (Ganz 1929) and 734 BoBoDE (Ganz 1963), together with 400, a prototype Budapest Metro car built by Ganz-Hunslet about 1991.

A fine, soaking drizzle deterred us from visiting the nearby Hungarian Open Air Museum to ride the new railway opened in April, so we returned to the city and, at Deák Tér station, found the Underground Railway Museum (Földalatti Vasúti Múzeum) after some confusion exacerbated by our expectation that the station staff would know its locaton. Here also the descriptive panels are well presented and informative and the beautifully restored 1896 metro cars 1, 19 and 81 appear convincingly authentic.

By contrast many of the railway exhibits in the National Transport Museum (Közlekedési Múzeum) were tired and dusty and poorly illuminated, detracting from their appeal, in particular the collection of superbly detailed large-scale models. In the main hall were 760 mm gauge 0-6-0T G.V.I. 399,068 (Karlsruhe 586/1870) and a four-wheeled coach from the Szeged light railway and standard gauge 0-6-0 GKB 674 (StEG 507/1860) coupled to a four wheeled Royal saloon of 1884. Outside in the open air were 0-6-0T 3366 (KrM 1048/1883), 4-8-0 424,001 (Bp 4763/1924) and the front end of Nohab/GM CoCoDE M61.004.

MÁV Istvántelek Works, Budapest
We were permitted a brief visit to this facility, which is responsible for storage, restoration and maintenance of equipment used by MÁV Nostalgia train services and museum exhibits. The workshop once employed thousands but now has a staff of around 30, mostly older men of wide experience, and though two younger men have joined the team they would like to train others. The main building extends over ten bays to cover 19 tracks served by two traversers, and is used primarily for storage, most work being carried out in the smaller adjacent machine shop and boiler shop, where 2-6-2T 375,1032 was receiving extensive repairs to the cab and bunker, two boilers were being repaired whilst 760 mm gauge 4wDM GV 3757 was waiting attention
Stored inside were:

269 0-6-0 [Sigl 1144/1870]
324,799 2-6-2 [Bp 4554/1921]
375,953 2-6-2T [Bp 2339/1911]
375, ? 2-6-2T (393 in chalk)
242,001 4-4-4T [Bp 5140/1937]
424,009 4-8-0 [Bp 4733/1924]
424,262 4-8-0 [Bp 7361/1955]
OKU 5 0-6-0T Rack [SLM 1834/1907]
A24 003 0-4-0DH
A28 016 6wDH
A28 018 6wDH
A29 032 BBDH
BCmot 463 2-ADMR [RABA 27875/1934]
M31 2007 0-6-0DH [Ganz 242/1959]
M31 2035 0-6-0DH [Ganz 270/1959]
M40 112 BoBoDE [GanzM 1191/1967]
M43 1007 BBDH [U23A ]
M47 1001 BBDH [U23A 22276/1974]
V55 004 CoCoWE [Bp 53/1954]
Stored outside were:
204 4-4-0 [Bp 1480/1900]
301,016 4-6-2 [Bp 3481/1914]
and plinthed:
424,284 4-8-0 [Bp 7443/1956]
324,540 2-6-2 [Bp 3827/1915]

9th Central European Steam Engine Grand Prix and 5th International Dining Car Convention
This annual two-day event at the Vasúttörténeti Park, Fusti, Budapest is justifiably popular and attracts visitors from Europe and beyond. Some travelled in grand style, the German contingent arriving in the “Grand Prix Express”, a 9-coach train including three Mitropa dining cars owned by the Rennsteigbahn. This left Berlin on 15th September and was hauled by DR 4-6-2 03 204 through Halle to Gera, from where a DB class 213 worked the train to Passau for stabling overnight. The following morning 03 204 again took charge for the onward journey through Linz, Vienna and Györ to Budapest. The crew were justifiably elated with the success of this journey and looking forward to their return. Other visitors were PKP 2-8-2 Pt47 65 from Wolstyn and CSD 0-8-0T 422 0108 brought by road transport from Zvolen in Slovakia, where it had featured in a similar event the previous weekend. These joined more than thirty resident steam, diesel and electric locomotives and railcars displayed in the open or in front of the roundhouse. (Listed in Appendix 1)

Locos and crews had to complete a series of challenges under the eyes of a panel of judges. The layout of the site, with four, widely spaced parallel tracks extending from the roundhouse turntable enabled two teams to simultaneously demonstrate their agility and skill, which made for a thrilling spectacle. Tests included driving locomotives as fast as possible without dislodging a beer can balanced on the side rods; picking up a mail bag then accelerating to drop it into a box at the trackside; driving to and extinguishing a lineside fire by means of the footplate hose; an acceleration test to stop at a ribbon across the track – at which the British crew on MÁV 2-4-2T 22,034 excelled by bringing the loco to a stand just touching the tape – and finally driving to release a long-skirted “Damsel in distress” beside the track, running with her to board a hand-operated trolley, and pumping this speedily back to the start. This was particularly trying for firemen who had to do most of the work!
While this frantic activity was in progress on one side of the site the dining car crews were competing elsewhere, and their creations were later served to visitors. A MÁV Wagon Lits dining car became a peaceful haven to enjoy coffee and apple cake in classical surroundings before joining the crowd to see the winners receive their prizes. Most participants seemed to win an award and the British team returned with another batch to add to their collection from previous years.

Budapest is significant in the “Orient Express” itinerary and this connection is emphasised by a fine exhibition of photographs, posters and artefacts marking the 125th anniversary of the service.

The museum is now served by a few “Desiro” diesel railcar services between Nyugati and Esztergom, which call at a new, but basic station behind the site. The vintage diesel railcar that formerly operated between Nyugati and a siding in the museum grounds has, in consequence, been transferred to the new railway at the Szentendre Skanzen open air museum.

The effort put into planning this tour was amply repaid. We achieved all we set out to and more, thanks largely to the help and advice from many people. The warm and friendly welcome we received from railway staff, hoteliers, restaurateurs and ordinary people we encountered on our travels impressed us so much that we plan to return in 2010 to visit some of the lines we had to omit this year.

APPENDIX 1: Resident stock at Vasúttörténeti Park
(Works numbers shown [ ] not confirmed by observation)
On 22 tracks around open turntable:
520,034 2-10-0 [Kren 1165/1943]
411,118 2-8-0 BLW 70497/1944
303.002 4-6-4 [Bp 6001/1951]
328,054 4-6-0 Bp 4664/1922
376,615 2-6-2T [Bp 2781/1911]
442,013 2-8-2T [Bp 4871/1921]
377,493 0-6-0T [Bp 3089/1912]
342,006 2-6-2T Bp 4174/1916
91,001 0-4-0F KrL 7037/1914
2 0-8-0T StEG 3931/1913
480 0-6-0T StEG 1765/1883
765 0-6-0T Bp 184/1886
7111 0-6-0 Bp 1628/1902
2459 0-6-0 Bp 277/1899
17 0-6-0 WrN 3060/1885
1026 0-6-0 Wohlert 739/1882
IgE 11,908 4wDM R
OVG 653 4wDM R Warsawa 1967
A21 064 0-4-0DH

In roundhouse and on 34 tracks leading to turntable:

27 0-6-0T [Bp 1687/1902]
22,034 2-4-2T Bp 5016/1929
109 109 4-6-0 WLF 2435/1917
424,247 4-8-0 [Bp 7286/1955]
M61 001 CoCoDE [Nohab 2546/1963]
M61 019 CoCoDE [Nohab 2594/1964]
M61 020 CoCoDE [Nohab 2595/1964]
M32 2040 6wDH [GanzM ]
ARPAD Amot 23 B-2 DMR [Ganz 80143/1935]
ABbmot 610 Co-2 DER [Ganz 1956]
Bdmot 640 1Bo-2DER [GanzM 1959]
Bamot 701 A1-1A DHR [RABA 45143/1960]
M28 1001 0-4-0DM [RABA 008/1956]
(Yard shunter)
Bp Ig 902 2-2-0PMR Car conversion
In rolling stock display area:
Mecski Szenbanyak II BoBoE [Ganz 1914]
V40 016 1D1E [Bp 33/1934]
V41 523 BoBoE [GanzM 88/1962]
V42 527 BoBoE GanzM 111/1965
M44 209 BoBoDH [GanzM ]
M47 1001 BBDH [U23A 22276/1974]
46 A1A-2DER [Ganz 83942/1944]
47 A1A-2DER [Ganz 83943/1944]
GySEV 5146.02 B-2DMR [SGP 78009/1961]
MDC (ŽSSK) T466-0253 BoBoDE [ZTS Martin 4423-0256/1979] (Visitor from Slovakia)

APPENDIX 2: Class Mk48 2000 Locos observed and works numbers checked 09.2009.

Works plates are fixed in the centre of the front buffer beam, and carry the factory title:
Wilhelm Pieck Vagon- és Gépgyár, Gyor, and the date, and a hand-stamped works number. Not all are legible.

The factory was founded by 1904 as Gyori Vagongyár, when a local football team carried that name. By 1960 it had become Magyar Wilhelm Pieck Vagon- és Gépgyár, Gyor, and by 1965 was renamed Rába, Gyor, a title it retained until 1994, except for 1985-92 when it was named Gyori.

(Wilhelm Pieck was a German communist elected President of the newly-established German Democratic Republic in 1949 and served as its only President until his death in 1960)
MÁV number Works number Location ÁEV number Works number Location
Mk48 2001 Mk48 401
Mk48 2002 013/1960 Debrecen Mk48 402
Mk48 2003 Mk48 403 2067/1960 XX Szilvásvárad
Mk48 2004 Mk48 404 060/1961 Szilvásvárad
Mk48 2005 Mk48 405
Mk48 2006 ? Debrecen Mk48 406
Mk48 2007 Mk48 407
Mk48 2008 ? Kecskemét Mk48 408
Mk48 2009 ? Debrecen Mk48 409 057/1961 Gyöngyös
Mk48 2010 Mk48 410 058/1961 Gyöngyös
Mk48 2011 Mk48 411 ? Szilvásvárad
Mk48 2012 ? Nyíregyháza Mk48 412 055/1961 Gyöngyös
Mk48 2013 ? Kecskemét Mk48 413
Mk48 2014 ? Kismaros Mk48 414
Mk48 2015
Mk48 2016 ? Nyíregyhaza.
Mk48 2017 Mk48 D02-510 003/196x Lillafúred
Mk48 2018 ? Kismaros 3)
Mk48 2019 Mk48 D02-541 050/1961 Lillafúred
Mk48 2020 ? Dombrad 4)
Mk48 2021
Mk48 2022 ? Kecskemét
Mk48 2023
Mk48 2024 ? Nyíregyháza
Mk48 2025 ? Nyíregyháza
Mk48 2026 ? Nagyhalász 5)
Mk48 2027
Mk48 2028
Mk48 2029 3) Dumped out of use
Mk48 2030 ? Kecskemét 4) Preserved in station yard
Mk48 2031 054/1961 Kismaros 5) Preserved at roadside near station
Mk48 2032
Mk48 2033
Mk48 2034
Mk48 2035
Mk48 2036 ? Kecskemét
Mk48 2037
Mk48 2038
Mk48 2039

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Howard Forster July 2009.
Thursday, 02/07/09. Reykjavik Harbour. Plinthed in very good external condition was Minor 0-4-0WT Jung 129/92. Its sister Pioner 0-4-0WT Jung 130/92, was in a wooden building at the Arbaer Museum at the west end of Reykjavik. It too was in good condition, but its works plate had been re-stamped 1591/1910, the date that it had received a new boiler.
Friday, 03/07/09. Isafjordur. Between 1880 and c1920, a considerable number of Norwegian fishermen were based at the port as fish stocks were in abundance. To convey the large quantities of fish from the quayside to the drying sheds, a wagonway was constructed. It would appear that the 4w wagons were manually propelled along the level track. At the Maritime Museum, a section of 600mm track and some wagons are all that remain today.

Isafjordur. Some 600mm trackwork and a 4w wagon were pictured at the Maritime Museum. 03/07/09

Photo by Howard Forster

Reykjavik. PIONER 0-4-0WT Jung 130/92, has been preserved in the Arbaer Museum on the west side of the city. 02/07/09

Photo by Howard Forster

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Howard Forster May 2009.
Friday 08/05/09, Messina. Permission was granted to photograph on the shed, 30 electrics and 12 diesels were noted, some of which were out of use, amongst the usual suspects were E633.103 and E655.054. Trams now serve the station, which is an excellent place to photograph them. Only one diesel loco was working, perhaps this is another example of the downturn in traffic.
Saturday 09/05/09, Naples. Although EMUs have been taking over an increasing number of services, there were still a considerable number of locomotive hauled trains to be seen, with E464 xxx on about a third of them. According to the Internet, Pietrarsa Museum is open on a Saturday, it is not. According to the notice on the locked gate, the opening hours were Monday – Friday 8:30 – 13:30.
Sunday 10/05/09, Rome. A quick visit to Termini found the loco hauled trains dominated by E464 xxxs.

Howard Forster May 2009.
Monday 11/05/09, Nice St-Roch. Very conveniently, the recently introduced low floor trams run close to Nice Ville Gare, through the town centre and up to St-Roch depot, before terminating at the north end of the yard. Travel costs a flat fare of one euro, tickets must be purchased from machines at tram stops before travelling, this has resulted in a shortage of one euro coins in Nice, even the money exchange shops did not have any. This depot has also become a fortress with keypad entry, 22232,25621 and a couple of unidentified Ys, were only the locomotives that appeared to be present.
Nice Ville Gare. 22239 and 22311 had worked in on passenger stock, 22347 and 26154 were stabled in the east end bay platform.

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